Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Lovely Lace

While I am the worlds biggest promoter of thrift shopping, it is still spending money. If you are trying to save money by buying thrift vs. buying retail that is great. But you still can burn a hole in your wallet if you go to any kind of store too often. 

Being a fervent Pinterest user, I enjoy looking through all the DIYs, but they all have so many steps and pieces. They end up being more of a "go to home depot/craft store and grocery store" and get too tired and frustrated before you can start.

So I wanted to bring up the realistic DIYs. Mine. I don't do long, involved projects. There isn't time, and I am not that patient. The project below I really encourage you to do as well, in your own way. I'm not going to talk about details and types of stitches and thread count. Only what I did. 

This is what I took out of my closet. Pretty eh. right? This is precisely what I did with it. I put it on. I measured on each side how much it needed to be taken in. I turned the dress inside out. I measured two inches and put a pin there. I pinned along each side. I then used my sewing machine and sewed along each side to bring the dress in. After that, I took black lace from Hancock's fabric, and added some lace sleeves, also by pinning the lace to the sleeves and then using the default stitch on the sewing machine. I added a black belt, and voila. I got this.
This Semantiks dress was purchased for $6.00 at a Salvation Army store, but because I could not try it on, it did not fit when I got home. This project probably took me a total of 40 minutes max. Now I get to have that new dress feel, without buying a new dress. The lace was purchased around $3.00 per yard. So, this dress ended up being $9.00. So, what piece of fashion can you put together?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

This fall, keep it simple.

Fall is finally here. After some unusually warm weather here in Chicago, the seasons have changed. With that change comes scarves, sweaters, and light jackets. Cider, pumpkins, apples, and Halloween here I come. This outfit features a scarf from Old Navy $9.00 on sale, a hand me down jacket (free), and a white sweater ($9.00) originally from the Gap purchased from ORT resale shop in Highland Park, IL . My jeans were from Crossroads Trading Co. in Chicago, IL. The skinny jeans are originally from Gap but I purchased them for $7.00. I paired these elements with some flats, but a pair of boots would have worked well too. New fall clothing does not have to be complicated or expensive. Pair a basic sweater with jeans and a unique necklace/scarf. Have a jacket that you can wear every single day. By wearing basic solids/neutrals, you can change up one outfit to look different each time you wear it by rotating bolder accessories (such as this scarf), rather than having a bunch of prints and zany colors that do not match too many of your clothing items. This fall, keep it simple.  Total Outfit Price: $25.00 (with shoes $45.00). 


Saturday, August 31, 2013

What should it really cost?

When I say deals, I mean real deals. Not sort of cheap. Very cheap. With clothes being manufactured with poorer quality, the hefty price tag really is not necessary. Everything gets marked down. In fact, now I'm starting to believe that sales are not once in a while, but always. The following stores traditionally have a very large clearance section and offer discounts off sale merchandise as well.

Loft always has things on sale. Constantly. Each week it is common to see a 30%, 40%, 50%, and even 60% off already on sale items. They offer a 20% discount off full price merchandise for students, so do not forget your ID. This is the type of store where I would recommend a regular scan of the sale section, particularly for items that you may need for work. Recently, I found a pair of cropped black slacks, and one pair of oatmeal colored pants, each for $4.99. You need to go in store to find those kinds of deals. That's right. Brand new basics. Also, the Loft tends to have items that are machine washable which is great for those of us with a very small dry cleaning budget.

Carsons is another store that has things at extreme discount. Their yellow dot clearance indicates items that are up to 75% off. This is especially promising for shoes. Carson's also sends out regular coupons for 20% off.

Lord and Taylor is another store to check into. Online the clearance does not look that spectacular and the items still seem expensive. But go to the store and look. You may find some great deals. I had a sales woman give me an extra 20% off once just because I was wearing her favorite color.

Thrift stores...need I say more. Some of my favorite places.

But sometimes, digging a little in your closet and pulling out something you haven't worn in a while can give you that same new outfit feeling all over again. Like this dress ($7.00) from Urban Outfitters on sale paired with a vintage necklace ($4.00) from an antique shop.

Total Outfit Price: $11.00.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Marriage Season Winding Down

Salvation Army Thrift: Marriage Season Winding Down

Check this post out. This is a great description of how to dress for wedding season without breaking the bank, for those of you attending many at this time. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dress yourself, not somebody else

I wanted to take a minute to talk a little bit about style, fashion, and how it is portrayed within our culture. Often, high fashion is portrayed as something for people of high socioeconomic class. Many times, it is. New, brand name, this season, designer clothing is expensive. Check out Rag and BoneFree People, Alice and Olivia, or just about anything on Shop Bop. A lot of great new fashion is not financially available to everyone.  I do not think it is supposed to be. However, sometimes you need to take yourself out of elitism and realize that the things you wear should be representations of you, not what a few people think is the next big thing. After all, being debt free is more attractive than designer clothing.

Someone thought this was great. It certainly is creative, and probably does represent this lady. That doesn't mean you should wear it.
photo credit: <a href="">Urban Woodswalker</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

So, while you are keeping this is mind. Dress your body for your body. If skinny jeans don't make you feel skinny, do not force it. Feel like a clown in bright purple pants even though you've seen other people in them? I don't blame you. Feel like you are drowning in a pool of fabric in a maxi dress? It's okay to dress for a petite body and lose the long flowing dress. Do you wish you were a size 6 when you are a size 12? Don't wear the size 6 even if you can fit it over you. Wear clothes true to size. Wearing something too small or too big doesn't look good. Embrace your size, large or small. Focus on your health, not your size or weight. A healthy lifestyle is more important than dress measurements. On the same note, a well fitting dress will make you feel better than the number on the label. Does shopping at juniors stores and only fitting into a large or extra large size when you are usually a small or medium make you feel bad? Stop going there. Chances are, those clothes are not made for you anyways. Everything doesn't work for everyone. Focus on what works for you. This woman above did and you can just see that confidence. 

Different versions of the same thing.

Today's outfit is pretty much the same as the outfit discussed earlier in the Red, White, and Blue post. The shirt and necklace are the same, together costing $4.25. The cardigan was purchased from Salvation Army for around $4.00. The jeans are Levis and were probably bought around $30.00. So, for what I traditionally feature here, this would be a more expensive outfit. However, I am trying to illustrate that you can re-wear the same essential pieces with minor changes and have something that looks entirely different. Here I wear the same polka dot shirt and necklace, and simply change the pants and add a cardigan (Zara). Suddenly a summer outfit (a little red, white, and blue) turns into one appropriate for fall, or an unusually cold day in July. That's Chicago for you. Summer one day, fall the next.

Total Outfit Price: $38.25

Sunday, July 28, 2013


It's difficult to prioritize. With the different stresses of work, life, friends, family, kids, etc. prioritization and organization may not be at the top of the list. But, it can make you feel a lot better. Prioritize what you need, or will often use, rather than what you want. Functional style is a lot better than a closet full of once were trends.

Key Wardrobe Essentials and Basics to look your best (that you do not have to spend a lot on)

Pearl or faux-pearl necklace: easy, classes up any outfit immediately. The one pictured was a gift in high school that I still have.

Neutral Pants: cropped (summer), skinny ( to wear with boots) , and trouser (classic).
I've featured these skinny black pants in several outfits on this blog. They are originally from the Limited, and I found them at the Salvation Army thrift store. 

These neutral oatmeal pants go with almost anything. They are a traditional bootcut. These pants were purchased new from the Loft on a 60% off day so they were bought around $5.00 brand new. I simply do not believe in full price. 

Black Pencil Skirt: goes with everything  

This is also from the loft. And again from the price tag you can see that it was not very expensive. Now all I need are a few interviews...

The little black dress.
Cliche yes. But this dress has accompanied me to work, been worn casually, made an appearance at a funeral, and been worn to fancier events. Definitely versatile. Add a scarf and its more casual. Add pearls or fancy jewelry and you are dressed to impress. This dress is a basic sheath dress from H&M that was around $30-$40.  

Traditional Long Sleeve Blouse
It looks professional, and is machine washable. This was purchased at ORT resale shop for around $6.00 and was originally from JCrew. 

Patterned blouse and cardigan
This blouse is silk, comfortable and was bought for about $3.00. It is important to wear a tank of some sort if you are at any risk of sweating under a silk top because the fabric will absorb sweat and stink.  The cardigan has been around for a while and is from the Loft (one of my favorite stores for discounted basics). This combination can work for spring and summer. A patterned blouse adds interest while a cardigan can make it wearable in colder temperatures. 

Add some of these things together, and you have a professional, easily changeable outfit with versatile pieces. 

Total Outfit Price: $17.00