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 walmart.com'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 store...you 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 walmart.com 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 them...so 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 local...grocery 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, dresses...you 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:
Jessica London - Plus Sized Fashions
Do you have a favorite store? Where do you get your best bargains? Any tips to share?