Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dressing Well on a Budget

Prior to having JaiseAnn, clothes shopping was a mostly fun activity for me. I was comfortable (for the most part) in my body at that time and we had a much more generous budget as a two-income family. After having JaiseAnn, I felt like I lost a bit of my identity in how I dressed. I wasn't working anymore so I didn't need to wear professional clothes. As a person who  actually loves dressing well, this was a harder adjustment than I anticipated.  I wasn't fitting into my jeans or t-shirts (I still don't but we're making small progress). And I couldn't afford to go out and purchase a new wardrobe.

I ended up buying some totally unflattering inexpensive t-shirts on sale somewhere with two pairs of jeans that I wore on repeat until they literally wore out--in a matter of months. After that, I purchased some maxi skirts to get me through the spring/summer--which was silly of me. I didn't feel good in maxi skirts prior to getting pregnant, so I definitely shouldn't expect to feel good in them after having a baby and carrying extra weight around--but I did.

dressing well on a budget

When I started school I really wanted to be able to go to classes dressed well--I wanted to dress professionally. I have a few outfits but needed a few more things to add to my wardrobe. We're still on a pretty tight budget--but have a slight increase in income for now, so I decided to start putting some of these tips and tricks to work and I've been dressing well on a budget!

I mentioned in this post that I purchased that top at a thrift store. I probably go into the thrift store about every month or two and just browse. I don't force stuff to work for me, but if something catches my eye, I definitely give it a shot and try it on. I have found a few great pieces that I love through thrifting. Certain fabrics are more forgiving of wear than others--so if you shop for the right pieces, they might not even look worn. The thrifted top I wore in the post referenced above doesn't show a much fading or wear and tear.

I recently discovered thredUP and I am beyond excited to share this site with you! The site is basically an online thrift store. You take the time and struggle out of shopping--you can filter your searches by gender, size, color, types of clothing, and you can even search for new items only. This site is amazing and I fell in love the second I clicked over. I had a referral link from a friend  for $20 credit. I went to the site and wanted to purchase 3 things for my $20--that was my mission.  I came quite close--I found 2 brand new (with tags) tops and a "like new" skirt for $25.00. After my $20 credit was applied and I paid for shipping I ended up paying $10 for three items of clothing--two with tags still on and one that is "like new." Use this link for a $20 credit of your own. You can purchase as little as you won't so you don't have to pay a cent out of pocket--you've got nothing to loose. I highly recommend giving it a shot.

(Wondering about returns or anything else--check out their awesome return policy and more on their FAQ page).

If you're not sure you believe me--check out the items that arrived in my polka dot package last week--eek!

thred up reviews

The pictures on the left and right feature the tops I purchased--both brand new with the tags still on. The top on the left is Merona and the top on the right is Outback Red. The top on the right is definitely a new favorite closet staple. I am so in love. The skirt I purchased is featured in the middle. It's a Gap skirt and is practically new. There is no fraying or fading and the beads on the bottom are all in place, none are falling off. 

Can you believe I purchased three pieces of clothing during JaiseAnn's naptime-and I only paid $10?!?!

Versatile Pieces
You might notice that the two tops I purchased are sleeveless. I don't wear sleeveless clothing--but I often buy my dresses and tops sleeveless. I do this because I can make different outfits by putting different layers on top--it's a simple and easy way to dress well on a budget. I can add a denim jacket, blazer, or cardigan to the tops and change the way I dress on the bottom and make a number of different outfit with a few closet staples.

I try to always have black, grey, and tan skirts in my closet. (I was in need of the gray and that's why I purchased it--and just purchased a tan (ish) one). Those three pieces often allow for many different variations with different tops and layering techniques. With three skirts, these two tops, and two different top layers (jackets or cardigans) I can make twelve different outfits. Add scarves and different colored tights and I just added a new level to each outfit!

Make the Internet Your Friend

I don't have a lot of time to shop and it's even more difficult when I have to pack JaiseAnn up and take her. Not to mention the fact that using fuel gives me a bit of anxiety-so making unproductive trips to the store isn't my favorite. I like to use the internet to look for coupons and clothing options ahead of time. Since I usually prefer to try on anything going on my bottom half--even dresses to make sure they're long enough--I scout out some things online first (and usually check to see if they're available in store--though they aren't always.)

eShakti is always a great place to shop because I can buy my clothes to custom fit--meaning I know that they'll be long enough and that they'll fit everywhere. (I've shared my love of eShakti here and here).

I like to always check RetailMeNot for coupon codes. I found a great deal on pencil skirts at Rue21 the other day. They were buy one get one half price. I found a coupon code for $10 off a $20 purchase and was able to get two pencil skirts shipped to my door for less than $20.  Coupon codes are definitely your friend!

And of course, don't forget about thredUP--Use this link for a $20 credit and see for yourself!

While I do receive a shop credit for you using your credit, all opinions are 100% mine. Thank you in advance.

Just to put it in perspective:  That means I've purchased two brand new tops, two brand new skirts, and one like new skirt for less than $30. My next goal is to purchase some new cardigans for $20 or less--making a total of twelve outfits for $50--not counting the additional pieces I already have in my closet to mix things up! EEK!

What are your tips for shopping for clothes on a budget? 

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