Friday, March 27, 2009

Thrifty Fashion Tips: Part 2

Can I just say how incredibly encouraged and excited I was that so many of you enjoyed my little fashion posting? Can I also tell you that I almost deleted the entire post because I thought surely no one would be interested. I was about this close (I'm holding up my fingers in that little way you do when you are saying 'I was this close...'). So, I was renewed and excited and here I am with the second installment. But before we begin, I do want to tell you that I have weeded out my closet just like I promised. I got my clothing ready for a yard sale this summer. I'm getting ready to bring out my spring items soon and will again do the same processes. I'm finding that I want to love the things that I am owning and wearing and in that, I am choosing to let go of the things that are not getting me towards that goal.

So! Let's get started!

Now that we have narrowed our focus down to the pieces that we need, lets talk about where to find those new things. I will let you know right now that I hardly ever shop the thrift store for clothes. I know that there are so many of you who find wonderful things there. I am not one of them. Our thrift store here is anything but thrifty and I find that I can have much more success shopping clearance racks for new items than shopping at our local thrift-oh-I-mean-let's-jack-up-the-prices store. I would encourage you to check your local thrift store for great deals. My mom got a brand new, $159 Ralph Lauren sweater (with the tags on) for $2.69 at her thrift store. Here's her post about it. I, unfortunatly, would not have that sort of luck. So, I look elsewhere.

First, I always check the ads for my local stores. Sears runs a weekly circular ad and some clothing stores do as well. I always check those first for my bargins. If I don't find something I like, then I'm certainly not wasting time heading to the store that week. I would encourage you to do the same. I know when I was living at home in PA, I was always excited to see what Kohl's would have on sale. Target as well! Get familiar with the price points of your favorite stores. Also become familiar with the quality of the clothing and it's manufacturer. One store's white tee-shirt may not be the same quality as another stores white tee-shirt. Get recommendations from friends. If your friend has a great button down blouse, ask her where she got it. We all love compliments and don't you just love to share where you got a good score? I know I do!

I often head to Old Navy for things like long sleeved shirts, tee shirts (and once these arms of mine get a bit more buff) tank tops. They carry a lot of your basics at really affordable price points. They are often running 2/for deals where you can scoop up a few pieces for a steal. They also run frequent sales and promotions. It pays to get onto their mailing list. I just signed up for the Canadian mailing list and was given a $10 off coupon on my purchase of $50 or more. I also find too that their website will offer different promotions than ones that run in the store. So sometimes, there are more savings to be had. Have you bought from them online? I have. They have their "famous $5 shipping". It doesn't matter how much or little you spend...$5! A little while ago, I shared with you how I scored some major deals at Old Navy. I plan to show you photos of those clothes but let's just say I scooped up a number of long sleeved knit shirts for $3.97 each! Deals are to be had! Jump on their mailing list, check the website and don't be afraid to stop into the store for some screamin' sales. And be on the lookout for this: When you check out, often times a survey will be attatched to your reciept. Fill out the quick online survey and you will get a coupon code for 15% off your next purchase...on top of your savings!!

Have you shopped the Walmart clothing depo lately? I havne't here in Canada, but let me say that I was DROOLING over some of the cute things on the Walmart website tonight. Let me show you...and then let me tell you about how to get those deals even if your store doesn't have them.

Remember how we all need an LBD? Here's one for $20! Plus it's Jersey knit. That stuff just doens't wrinkle and feels like a dream when you wear it. I love jersey knit.

I would definatly pick this skirt up. So pretty! Imagine it with a cute t-shirt or dress it up with a beaded tank. I love to wear skirts in the summer.

You absolutely cannot go wrong with a beautiful coat. A coat with in a gorgeous color can make you go from drab to fab. Even if you are wearing a stained up, ripped up, let's-hope-I-don't-see-anyone-I-know-in-public tee-shirt, a coat will carry you through. It hides that mess and presents a gorgeous front. They key is to get a flattering cut and color. How about melon? Stacey London once said that melon is the number one color that any skin color can wear. I think I agree with her. I want this coat!! And at $15, I'm really debating it....

Are you into wearing organic clothing? How about these tee-shirts for only $8. Organic! $8!

There are plenty of things for sale on their website that just don't make it into every store. I can speak a bit to that because I worked at Walmart for almost three years. Have you heard about's shipping options? Let me tell you about them.

They have their 97 cent shipping on many items. That's wonderful! The item ships straight to your home. Can't beat that....or can you? Have you heard of their Site to Store shipping? What you do, is purchase the item online, pay for it online, and the item ships for free to your local Walmart get a call in about a week when it comes in, and there you go! Free shipping! Nervous about putting your credit card online? Well, here's what you do. Fill your virtual shopping cart. Figure out the total of items (remember your free shipping) and then head to your local Walmart. Grab a gift card and put the amount of your virtual shopping cart onto your gift card. Then use the gift card on to pay for your items. Wonderful! I used to help customers all the time to order items right there at our store and they would always pay with a gift card. I'm a big advocate for trying on items before you buy if you do order something and it doesn't fit, you can always return the item to your local Walmart store. (Definatly verify first with your local Wally World, but we were always able too.)

Here is another website with cute, trendy, inexpensive items. Forever 21. I could look at this site for hours! The prices are w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l! Here are some of their new arrival dressy tops that I just loved. I couldn't even begin to browse the rest of the site...I'd never finish this post!

This top would be so great on a hot day when you want to feel comfy and beautiful. Breezy is the word that comes to mind.

Are you looking for something just a bit more special? How about this lovely lace beauty? I definatly want this shirt!

I love how this top is nipped in at the waist. So so pretty!

Would you like to wear this? I picture a gorgeous chunky necklace paired with it.

Don't be afraid to explore this store! There are so many wonderful things! If the cut is good and the color is flattering and if you have the right attitude, you can pull anything off! For my Canadian sista's, Forever21 offers Canadian prices and shipping as well.

And another store for my Canadian girls...Joe Fresh! For those who don't know, Joe Fresh is an amazingly trendy, cute, affordable line at our store!! The designer has been in the industry for more than 25 years designing for the likes of Alfred Sung and Club Monaco. Pretty neat, eh? Here are some looks from the Spring '09 collection. I was disapointed that there weren't more options on the website...but check out your local Superstore or Independent. Cutest clothes!!

And finally, don't forget about stores like TJMaxx for some great bargins. My local TJMaxx also offers 30 day layaway so if you find a great piece but can't swing it just yet, throw it into layaway. Also, please don't be scared off by big department stores. Sometimes they can have amazing sales! I find that The Gap has great pieces on their clearance racks. Their quality is so good. I bought a jeans skirt in their store 6 years ago and it still works in my wardrobe...and has lasted like iron.

Here's another idea. If you have a particular brand of clothing that you love or a store that has the styles that totally cater to your sweet self, try this. (Let's take J.Crew for example.) Go into your local "J.Crew" and try on clothes. Spend some time trying on shirts, pants, jeans, name it. And take note of the sizes. Write them down if need be. Then, head to ebay. Plug into the search engine "J.Crew" and be amazed at the items that pop up. Now narrow it down by your size. My sister did this with a white peacoat that she wanted. It was listed for much cheaper on ebay than in the store.

The key is to this process is to know your stores. Get onto their mailing lists. Create an email account for just your online newsletters and promotions so your personal email account doesn't get flooded with spam. Scan the newspaper for coupons. Macy's will often put coupons into the newspaper. Search them out. Don't be afraid to try new stores if you see a sale is going on. Again, stick with quality foundational pieces. You can never go wrong with that. Search search search. Remember your outfits from your inspiration board. Can you recreate them on the cheap?

Often times, I find the best deals when I'm not looking. And don't be afraid to ask if a store can hold a piece for you for 24 hours...or a half hour...until you can come back to buy it. Often times, they will. I find if I see something, and don't buy it, but am still thinking about it a couple days later, chances are, I know that I will truly love that item and will wear it wholeheartedly.

I hope you enjoyed this uber long post! There are still more to come! Next I will show you some of my own clothes and how I mix and match it up.

And here are two more stores that I just didn't get to that you may want to check out:

Francessa Collection

Jessica London - Plus Sized Fashions

Do you have a favorite store? Where do you get your best bargains? Any tips to share?


Ruby said...

Hi Mandi. Another great fashion post! I'm really glad you're sharing, it's fun. We don't get most, if not any, of those shops over here in the UK, but you've definately made me think about looking out for vouchers and signing up for newsletters. TFS :o) I'm looking forward to the next instalment. We're moving soon so I haven't got around to making the board, but will once we've settled, it's a fab idea :o)

Tracey said...

Oh, I am so excited by your post!! I plan on doing some of what you suggested and try stores I normally don't go into and search the clearance. I try websites, but I'm a try on girl.. knowing I can bring it back to Wally World is great!1 Keep going... I'm trying to stay up to you by looking through my closet, keeping what I need,, I do need a LBD...I'm shopping this weekend... will let you know what I come up with...

Anonymous said...

Yet another FABULOUS post! You ROCK girlie! I LOVE Wal-Mart clothes! I need to have my eye out for that cute white skirt, organic tee's and a MELON colored coat!

Thanks again for your fashionable, inspiring advice!

Mandi said...

I really enjoyed the first post, but this one was even better! Some of those tips were GENIUS! Way to go on thinking outside the box and keep the posts coming!

The Browns said... usually has some pretty good deals. I signed up for their alerts and regularly receive 30% off coupons or coupons for $30 off a $75 purchase ($45 for $75 worth of clothes). The sales in the store can be pretty good as well although some of their quality has slipped recently.

Stephanie said...

Not sure how I missed your last post? Anyhow, you are crazy woman!!
I have to say, I do love Joe. I am very much into multi-tasking with 5 kids and being able to get food, toys, gifts AND clothes at one store: OH YA! But.. we don't have one here... so nasty little Wal-Mart it is!

Small House said...

Thanks for the tips. I don't usually shop for clothes at thrift stores either. I agree, I can find clothes new as inexpensive as our thrift store. daughter and I walked through the clothing section of Walmart and was surprised at how cute some of the clothes were. We'll look at their website tomorrow.

We are weeding out our clothes, and following your tips.
Have a great day.

Lucy Marie said...


Thanks for the great tips. I am planning on doing some shopping next weekend to get a few new pieces for my trip across the pond to the UK.

I haven't made a board yet but I will tell you what I did do -- last week when I spent a day with my mom, she let me go through her closet and choose any pieces that I thought I might want to borrow for my vacation.

Listen up, this woman is a fashion goddess. If I could have half as much class as my mother, I'd be satisfied.

Anyway, after looking through her clothes and selecting pieces that were appealing to me, I began to realize that I am really drawn to prints and certain cuts and styles, yet own very few items along those lines.

So, I came up with a bit of a list of things that I want to look for printed tops, certain types of shirts etc) and things I want to avoid (I do NOT need another black top!)

What you've been posting is so helpful, I can't wait to read the rest. Also, giving the Canadian options is so helpful because most blogs I read are from the US.Do you have a Dynamite in your area? It is one of my fav stores down here and it often has great sales and classic pieces.

the undomesticated wife said...

I'm sorry you can't find good stuff at the thrift store! Your mom scored huge on her find!

I've never been in Forever 21. I have always just walked past it. I'll stop in next time. Probably is...I hate the mall and never go there unless absolutely necessary. ;)

Holly said...

The other day I saw a really cute classic trench coat at Walmart for, I think, $30.
I really have to start widening my fashion horizons. I go really plain and boring, and don't wear much jewelry other than earrings.


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