Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thrifty Fashion Tips: Part 3

Well hello my thrifty sistahs! It's time for another full-on frugal fashion post. This time we are going to talk about what to look for in your pieces to take them from looking inexpensive and boring to expensive looking and sharp.

I'm talking about the little details. You see, sometimes clothes are cheap because well, they look cheap. There is nothing interesting about them. The fabric is plain ol' 100% cotton and the only details is that they have a hem. B-O-R-I-N-G.

If I'm totally honest with you, I have a gazillion plain long sleeved (and short) tee shirts. I have them in every color under the rainbow with v-necks and scoop necks and crew necks and boat necks and turtlenecks. Every kind of neck you can think of. This chick has certainly learned upon going through my closet, that long sleeved plain shirts are something that I no longer need to buy. (Stay tuned for the next post because I'll be showing you how I dress up those plain shirts of mine.)In any case, I've also done myself some justice by buying peices with detail. Glorious, beautiful detail.

Let me show you what I mean.

(In case you were hoping that I would show you what I am wearing or what's in my closet, today isn't the post. My camera batteries died after I put them into my new Swiffer WetJet and therefore I can't take any photos. So sorry! Maybe I'll do an update when I buy some new batteries.)

Let's take a look at the classic white tee shirt. A white tee shirt. Everyone should have one, right? So classic. So fresh. So beautiful and so clean looking. But a white tee shirt can also hinge on the dull side if you aren't careful. Take a peek at this lovely shirt from Old Navy.

First of all, we can see that it has a pretty scoop neck. Show off those pretty collar bones ladies! And just take a look at the sweet embroidery around that scoop neck. Lovely! So full of detail. Look at the folds and draping created by the embroidery. And finally, take not of the sleeves. They are a shorter sleeve - you'll probably need some good arms to wear this baby. But it's certainly not your typical boring normal tee shirt sleeve. This shirt is only $12.50 at Sweet and full of detail.

1. Look for items with embroidery, ribbon detail, rouching (gathering of fabric), beadwork - any special touches to give your piece interest.

Again, here is a pretty shirt from for $19.50. We probably all have a button down shirt or two or three hanging in our closet. How do we make sure that we don't look like a waiter while we are wearing them? Well, again look for the details. Look at this shirt. What details do you see?

Yep, more gathered fabric. I find that look just so nice. What else?

The sleeves! Yes! Do you see that band around the bottom of the sleeve? I imagine that on the backside of that sleeve is a lovely little button holding that cuffed sleeve. Wonderful!

I'm sure you saw the hem of this shirt. Cut higher around the thighs. Do you remember how the magazines say that when you are looking for a bathing suit you want to make your legs look longer so to choose a high cut swim suit? Well, you get a bit of that effect here as well. Your leg line isn't being cut off by a straight hemmed shirt. It's pretty. And because it's a nice cut it can either be worn untucked or tucked into a great pair of dark denim jeans with a rockin' belt.

Do you notice any other details? Who said color? Right on! Gals, please, if there is anything I can pass on to you...please do not be afraid of color. It's that spot of sunshine that makes the world go 'round. I think sometimes it can be easy to shy away from a soft orange shirt of a bright pink shoe because we are afraid to draw attention to ourselves. Let me just tell you, you will be drawing attention to yourself in a good way! If the thought of wearing something saturated has you weak at the knees, try wearing something bright in a necklace, earrings or a big bold bangel. Or, wear that robins egg blue tee shirt but wear a white jacket over it so you see just a small panel of color.

Here's a personal example of color in my life. I bought this gorgeous, bright pink coat for spring. I wear it as often as possible because I just love it so much. But it's bright pink. I could imagine that color could scare some people away from ever buying such a thing. But let me tell you, every single time I wear it, I have gotten a compliment on it. Every time. It's not me they are, they are saying "I love your coat!" "What a pretty coat." "What a great color of coat." Please, don't be afraid of color.

2. Don't be afraid of color. Dare to be colorful.

Here is a great purple sweater cardigan that could carry many of us through the spring months. I don't know about you sistah's living in the southern states but I think most of us could wear this lightweight sweater and get away with it. It is $26.50 from

When I'm looking for clothing pieces, I look for interesting things like belts. You could wear this belted in the front and buttoned down as shown. Or how about leaving the cardigan unbottuned and tied in the back? How is that for a whole new look? I love to tie belts in the back. It's a little unexpected. When you get a belted item, you can definatly switch up the look at bit more. That's really working your dollar!

For more details, we've got again, interesting details on the sleeves. There is embroidery on the cardigan opening and take a look at that hem!

3. Look for added extra's like a belt of a detatchable collar. This is like getting two or three looks in one!

And lastly, here is this beauty of a shirt. I can so say that because I bought this shirt! I purchased it in a bright yellow dotted (just like the only below) and also in a dark blue floral type print. Details are written all over this shirt. From gathered fabric to a one button closure, to interesting cuffs to an great color and print. But my favorite part? Check out the layered hem! Three pleats! How is that for detail?? Can you guess how much this shirt is on sale for at Old Navy? $7.99! I bought both of mine for $11.99 each. And.....

SALE ALERT! Old Navy is having their stuff and save sale for cardholders where everything you can place in their special bag, you can 20% off of. Sweet! I always love that sale.

So there are a few things to look for while shopping for your pieces. Look for the details. It's in those details that you find true value. You can go from hum-drum to wow by just looking for those little things.

Interested in reading more?

Thrifty Fashion Tips: Post Part 1

Thrifty Fashion Tips: Post Part 2

Do you look for details? If so, what do you look for?


Small House said...

My daughter and I have a motto "Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize." You can do anything with a plain t-shirt. Accessories go a long way. You can never have to many earings, bracelets, scarves, necklace's....etc. long as you get them on CLEARANCE!

Love all your suggestions!!
We have fun reading them

Lucy Marie said...

Awesome post, girl. I went to a Suzy Shier and Bluenotes outlet the other night - everything was like 4.99 or 7.49. It was great, I got some really cute tops. And tonight I pulled out some things to pack for my trip (probably WAYY too much) and realized that it doesn't even look like I made a dent in my closet or dresser drawers. You can be sure I am going to be doing a major purge when I get home.

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

Thanks, Mandi - you rock! These are such great posts, and lots of fun chatting about fashion - just like those college days with roommates.


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