Posts Tagged ‘frugal’


Inspiration Calendar – Belt an Oxford over a dress

May 3, 2010

OK, I cheated here.  I didn’t have an Oxford that I felt would work over a dress, so I reached for this little Talbot’s belted jacket that I’ve been wanting to wear for months.

Price Breakdown:

Jacket:  Talbots: $4.69 (Goodwill)

Navy Sheath Dress:  Ann Taylor $5.89 (Goodwill)

Shoes:  Mootsies Tootsies $3.59 (Goodwill)

Total Cost: $14.17

I’m sorry, but I just have to toot my horn here, because I am gushing with Thrift Pride.  How cool is it that for less than 15 bucks, I can put together this timeless, classic outfit?  Somebody at Goodwill needs to use this photo for a new Marketing campaign: “How to dress like a million bucks for less than $15!”

I should do for Goodwill what Jared has done for Subway, don’t you think?

OK, OK, I’ll regain some humility, but I’m actually quite proud here, because I also have the good length factor going here on both the jacket sleeves and the dress, and that rarely happens with me.  Even the height of the heels seem to show off a bit of sassiness, don’t you think?

I guess the only thing this outfit is missing is a splash of color – maybe a nice yellow purse matched with a yellow scarf instead of the jewel-toned beads.  I thought about that the day I wore this outfit, but then decided against looking for the ultimate accessory for this outfit.

I just don’t want to go down that road of accessorizing for perfection.  I like the simple understatedness of this outfit.  Trying to dot the I’s and cross the T’s with perfect accessories just seems too…..too perfect to me.

However,  being the “fickle” or capricious nut that I am, my actions are once again contrary to what I write.  Yes, I decided that I didn’t want to get caught up in accessorizing.

But look what I bought that very same day:

They were $9.99 each, which is a lot for me to spend on anything, let alone purses.

The one on the left is Coach, and I’m confident it’s authentic, and the one on the right is Chanel, and I’m pretty sure it’s not.  But it is adorable, isn’t it?  And I’m not a purse person at all.

In fact,  I’ve just about doubled my purse inventory with these two purses.

What do you think?  Will these be nice additions?  Would they have worked with the outfit above??


Inspiration Calendar – Black Cardigan, Bright Scarf, dorky pose

March 25, 2010

Hello!  I sure hope my pose brings a smile to your face, because I am cracking myself up!

Tuesday’s Inspiration Calendar (IC)outfit combo was easy – maybe even a little too easy, because I even laxed on wearing a belt over the cardigan.

Remember, the IC is a “collection of trends, color combos or pictures of outfits from magazines and other media sources.” It’s designed to be “inspirational”, but for me, it’s as necessary as a morning cup of coffee (or diet Mt. Dew, in my case).  As I’ve said before, it’s Fashion for Dummies.

And here’s my price breakdown to remind everyone that being fashionable can sometimes cost less than a manicure!

Cardigan:  Daisy Fuentes $4.69 (Goodwill)

T-shirt:  Gap (somehow acquired through the years)

Skinny jeans:  Cabi $3.89 (Goodwill)

Boots:  No Boudaries $25.00 (Wal-Mart)

Total Cost:  $33.58

First, the cardi.  I love it.  It’s long, comfy and covers everything. Of course, lately I have been raving about how far I’ve come in style, because I’m embracing more fitting tops,  but since the model wasn’t wearing a belt over her cardi, I decided to give myself a “bye” on wearing one, and I went for the baggy look.

Now, the skinny gray jeans.  LOVE THEM!  This was a wonderful find that I picked up just a couple of weeks ago, when I was stressing over not knowing what the difference between skinny, straight leg, tapered and pleated pants were.

I thought if they had spandex in them, then they were skinny jeans, because they made you feel skinny. Doesn’t that make sense?

Then I thought that if they were “skinny” at the bottom, then they were skinnys.  So remember when I wore this:

I thought they were skinny, but they are actually tapered.  But comments from that post and also from the You Look Fab forum helped to guide me in the right direction.  It’s really awesome, because I feel like I have personal fashion consultants right at my fingertips! So thank you all for contributing to my fashion evolution!

Here’s a real good definition of skinny jeans if you’re interested.

So back to my Cabi gray jeans.   Cabi is one of those personal shopper lines, like Doncaster, that I just learned about when I researched it from wearing my Come Fly With Me outfit.

Well, it was like the perfect storm the night I found these Cabi skinny jeans at Goodwill.  First, I had just learned what skinny jeans really were, so I was specifically looking for them.  Then, I had just learned from my Come Fly With Me post how exclusive the Cabi brand is.

So imagine my excitement when

a) I found skinny jeans

b) they were Cabi brand

c) they fit!!!

The fact that they were only $3.89 almost secondary here….OK, no it’s not.

d) they were only $3.89!!

So what do you think of my Black Cardigan and Bright Scarf ensemble?  I think it’s a at least a 3.5 or 4; I know I probably lose a point when I  knowingly reverted back to the 90’s with the baggy look.  Here’s the Rating System I developed. Let  me know what you think!


Inspiration Calendar – Blazer over Stripes

March 19, 2010

Since I love stripes, this was actually a tough combo because I had so many striped tops to choose from…

Price Breakdown:

Jacket:  Casual Corner $4.69 (Goodwill)

Striped Top:  BCBG $23.99 (Baubles N Beads consignment store in Houston)

Skirt: Amanda Smith $9.99 (Fashion Junction consignment store)

Shoes:  Ellen Tracy $3.39 (Goodwill)

Total Cost: 42.06

I’d give this outfit a solid “B”.

Actually,  I’m going to change the grading system to a rating system on a scale of 1 – 5.  I don’t know – grading with an A or F sounds so critical and negative.

So here it is:

5 – “Wow – you go girl! You have outdone yourself”

4 – “Looking good, sister!”

3 – “Passable, but could use a few tweaks to push it up to a 4 or 5 level”

2 – “Ummm, needs quite a bit of work.  You have one or two elements that you can build upon, but as a whole, this doesn’t work.”

1 – “Don’t go there, girlfriend.  Tomorrow’s a new day, so let’s just start over.”

There!!  I like my rating system! Positive reinforcement without judgment.

So like I said, Blazer Over Strips is a solid 4, and I’m OK with that.  I welcome any suggestions that might push it up to a 5 (gold jewelry?  a broach on the jacket? I know the jacket is a bit long in the sleeves,so it might never be a 5).

So let me tell you about the striped top in this outfit.  I remember buying this top as I was checking out my purchases at my favorite consignment store in Houston.

You might remember that I mentioned once in an earlier post that shirts for me are like an impulse buy of a candy bar at the grocery store check out lane.  I can be completely  finished shopping, and while the clerk is ringing up my order, I start grabbing shirts as I’m standing in line, and throw them on top of the pile without even trying them on.

The lady at Baubles N Beads actually knew this about me, and would purposefully slow down as she rang things up, because she knew, the slower she went, the more I’d buy…..

So anyways, I remember this shirt hanging behind the counter and I fell in love with it.  When I found out it was my size and it was from BCBG, I was sold.  This was back around 2001 – 2oo2, and I think I had just learned that BCBG was a hot brand.  And I remember I paid $23.99, because that was a lot for me to spend on a shirt.  But it was striped, and it was BCBG, so I didn’t have a choice at that point.  I had to buy it.

So I bought the shirt “sight un-worn” (which is a terrible shopping habit I have, despite my attempt to overcome it with my 2010 Shopping Rules).

When I eventually tried the shirt on at home, I was horrified to find out how form-fitting it was – very “spandexy” and snug.  This was almost 10 years ago, and I don’t know when that extra-small-tight-fitting-shirt trend started, but I surely wasn’t comfortable with it.

So therefore, that shirt has literally sat in my closet for nearly 10 years, because I didn’t feel comfortable wearing something so tight.  But I couldn’t get rid of it, because it’s so cute.

The problem was, once again, I just didn’t know how to wear it.  I definitely can’t wear it without a jacket over it, because it’s too tight and short, and I’m still uncomfortable with THAT look (i.e. exposed hips).

And wearing a shirt without a collar under a jacket?? That certainly wasn’t in my fashion comfort level.

Fast-forward to today, and since I have started writing this blog, I have become more comfortable with wearing tighter shirts, and wearing them under jackets is as normal to me as wearing a belted jacket.  Yes, 10 years after the trend started, I’m almost up to par.

So once again THANK YOU Kimberly and your Inspiration Calendar!!!  That cute little striped shirt may never have seen the light of day, had you not inspired me to wear it.

OK, one more thing.  Just a visual statement on how screwed up the American women’s fashion sizing it.  Remember yesterday’s pants were incorrectly marked as a size 0?  Check out what size the skirt was that I wore today.  I guess this just reinforces how important it is to try things on….


Day 25 – Finally, a scarf!

February 28, 2010

I am not a huge accessorizer. Which is sad, because I love accessories on other people.  I know that a nice statement necklace, a scarf, or pretty earrings can pull an outfit together yet I neglect to go that extra mile.

It’s something I hope continuous feedback from all of you will help me with.

I mean, it was less than a month ago that I admitted I was a beltaphobe, and here I am a converted beltaholic. So if anything, I am teachable.

Let’s take scarves, for instance. Just a nice little suggestion of a scarf from Rena on my boyfriend jacket/teal tunic outfit led me to try one out on this outfit:

Price Breakdown:

Jacket:  Petite Sophisticates $4.69

Teal Tunic #2 :  Apt. 9 $2.29 – I had so many compliments on my Ann Taylor tunic, I had to ride the momentum and try out my other one!  I’m shameless, aren’t I?

Jeans:  Apt. 9 $4.59 – check out the length on the jeans – how do you like me now, whaat! (My boyfriend’s 10-year-old daughter Sophie helped me get that phrase just right, including the spelling!)

Boots:  Transit $6.59

Total Cost:  $18.16

Sophie also voted this as my best outfit yet.  She’s one of my top fashion advisers.

As I mentioned above, aside from Sophie’s input, this outfit is the result of listening to suggestions and learning from other blogs.

I bought this Petite Sophisticates jacket months before I started this blog.  I absolutely loved it, but it sat in my closet because I had no idea how to wear it.  I kept searching for the perfect brown skirt or pants to go with it, I considered wearing it with black or tan, but nothing seemed to work.

So when I started writing this blog and reading about how other people wear short jackets, I finally found the answer with a pair of jeans and a tunic.  Then Rena suggested a scarf with I wore my other tunic, and here I am, looking very fashionable to a 10-year-old.  Are there any adults out there that agree this works?

A couple more things about scarves – for March, I am planning on using the Inspirational Calendar for my daily looks, and 3 of the days have scarves as part of the ensemble.  So I know I will wear a scarf at least 3 times in March.  That’s more than I did in February, right?

And finally, have you seen this excellent scarf-tying tutorial? I probably should have used the second method for my scarf above, don’t you think?   I think I’ll ask Sophie….

(By the way, she likes it the way I did it!)


Day 24: Polka dots!!

February 27, 2010

This outfit was inspired by my friend Laura.  We were out for lunch the other day, and she ran up to me grabbing the skirt of the black and white flowered summer dress she was wearing, topped with a nice black cardigan, shouting “Look!  I bought this at Goodwill the other day!!”  She was so proud, and she looked great.  I thought to myself, “Hmmm….I can do that!”

Price Breakdown:

Dress:  Positive Attitude $5.89

Jacket:  Apt. 9 $6.00 (Fashion Junction)

Boots:  Unknown $9.99

Total Cost:  $21.88

I LOVE this look!

OK, not so sure about if boots were the right choice here.   I just automatically reach for boots when there is 6 – 10 inches of snow on the ground.  Sometimes, when I have the foresight, I wear my Uggs to work, then change into my strappy Ellen Tracy sling backs, but I wanted to emphasize how you can take a summer style dress and winterize it, so I stuck with the boots.  What do you think?

I also wanted to show you how great the dress is on it’s own – I can see myself wearing this to a wedding or semi-formal dinner engagement.  Ignore the boots and imagine it with a nice pair of strappy sandals.  Don’t you love polka-dots?

Speaking of polka-dotted summer dresses, I found the HOLY GRAIL of summer polka-dotted dresses!  Can anyone tell me where you’ve seen it before ?  Here’s a hint:


Sale Alert!! And it’s a great one!!

February 26, 2010

Bargain Basket Thrift Shop is having an INCREDIBLE SALE!

75% off all items over $5.   50% off all items under $5:   Saturday, February 27

Dollar Days – ALL ITEMS just $1!!  March 1st – 5th

Sack Sale – Everything you can put in a sack for $7 – March 6

I just got out of there with:

2 skirts, 2 pants (no pleats), 2 sweaters, 1 dress, 1 shirt for $28!!  This is even  better than Goodwill prices!

520 East 6th Street
Des Moines, IA 50309-1918
(515) 246-8545


Day 22 – Oops I did it again!

February 26, 2010

In this post, I really wanted to talk about the Boyfriend Blazer, and how versatile it can be – from dressing up some jeans to jazzing up your business casual attire.  However, if you’ll look at the pants length, I have once again made a huge fashion faux pas.

Price Breakdown:

Boyfriend Blazer:  Banana Republic $4.69

Teal Tunic: Ann Taylor $2.29

Pants:  Eddie Bauer $1.99

Boots:  Nine West $18

Total Cost: $26.97

I feel like I’m back in 7th grade.

7th grade was a pivotal time in my life.  Upon returning back to school after summer vacation, I immediately noticed that there was something different about all the other girls.  They had changed.  They seemed taller, bigger, more mature.   They were wearing make-up, carrying purses and  wearing bras because they had boobs.

It was like they had all gone off to “How to Be a Girl Camp” and came back with all this new information about things that I didn’t even know existed.

Me?  I had spent the summer like I always did – climbing trees and catching tadpoles.

With my recent outfits, I feel I’m right back there in 7th grade – everyone knows all these things about fashion that I wasn’t even aware of! Where have I been when all these fashion rules were made?  How could I have been so unaware?

Today’s topic is pants length.  And for all of you who were like me, unaware of the the current fashion standards, I have done some research by trial-and-error, and I can bring back some information for you. In other words,  I feel like I have attended “What is the Proper Pants Length”  camp.

Here’s what I’ve learned from the always helpful, kind supportive women at You Look Fab:

– Almost skimming the surface of the ground is about an eight of an inch off the ground – which is an ideal length. The photos on the left are perfect for bootcuts and wide legs.

– Skinny legs however, are different. Hems that taper cannot skim the surface of the ground – so we allow them to scrunch a little at the ankle instead.

For more information about pants length, visit click here.

So it’s back to my closet to re-evaluate my pants collection.  No wonder why I wear skirts all the time.  Pants are complicated.

Several people have commented how difficult it is in winter to wear pants this long in the winter.  Any thoughts?


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