Have you ever met someone that you just instantly clicked with? This has been my experience with Becca, and we’ve never even seen each other in “real life”. Can you believe it?! Believe it! Today Becca is visiting and sharing some awesome tips with us. I *love* shopping and I *love* saving, and this is the perfect combination!
~~~~~~~~~~~Hi! I’m thrilled to be guest posting for Darby today. Darby and I ‘met’ through a blog swap a few months back where we were randomly assigned to exchange books. I instantly loved her, her blog, and her taste in literature. Since being united through the swap I now read her blog faithfully, tweet with her, and stalk her pinterest collections. Turns out, we have A LOT in common and I basically adore her. So I’m happy to be on her blog today to free her up to focus on finishing her PhD strong, and in hopes of connecting with some of her followers as well, who I’m sure are equally awesome.
For starters, I’m Becca and I blog here. I’m a personal blogger, meaning I don’t have a themed blog but, like Darby, you can find lots of talk about life, love, faith, budgeting, books, and of course, some fashion. I am a 20-something living in Tampa, Florida where I own a fabulous bachelorette pad and work for a non-profit planning events with NFL teams. I also love to travel and this year will be taking on Haiti & Washington DC in the spring (April and May).
Well enough about me, let’s get to the heart of today’s post. When I was trying to decide what I might talk to you all about today, I thought, ‘why not combine two things Darby and I both love?’. Today will be a bit of a ‘how to’ on dressing fabulously, but frugally. As a Dave Ramsey enthusiast, I believe in living below your means, on a budget. But as a 26 year old female in a fantastic city, I also believe in having a wardrobe you love. I’m a firm believer in having your cake and eating it too. So here we go… Staples. Every wardrobe needs staples. These are items like a great pair of jeans (or 7), a black cardigan, a brightly colored trench coat, solid colored flats, and of course a stash of leggings. These items you will wear often and you want to be perfect, so don’t be afraid to spend a little money on them. That being said, never pay full retail price for anything if you can avoid it. You know you’re going to need jeans and a great pair of black flats, right? So when you find them at a good price: buy them! Don’t wait until you have a day to find them and drop 200 bucks at a department store. I found a great pair of black leather Michael Kors flats at Nordstrom Rack for $50 recently. Get ‘em while the getting is good! I also managed to snag a $200 pair of Joe’s Jeans for $29 last summer. I didn’t need jeans right that minute but like I said, don’t wait til you need ‘em, think ahead!
While I’m on staples, these would be the items that are worth having tailored as well. You want them to fit to flatter. Always have the number of a great tailor. I’ve found one now who’s prices are really reasonable and once per season I take a few items to her and have them ‘made for me’. This is good ammo for any wardrobe. Investment Pieces. Every successful wardrobe has a few investment pieces. To me, these aren’t always severely overpriced either, you can find these for steals along the way as well. A few investment pieces from my wardrobe? A Coach Carry-on bag. It’s black, signature print, very classic and may literally last forever. I snagged mine while I worked there (Coach), with my employee discount, for just over $100 bucks (normally $400). $100 is still nothing to scoff at I realize but 5 years later, I still travel with it 10-20 times per year for work and play and it looks every bit as good as the day I brought it home. It was a worthwhile ‘investment’.
Another would be a great piece of jewelry – whether vintage, bedazzled, or just plain gold, great jewelry definitely counts as an investment piece and everyone should have a few (moderation though, for you shopaholics, is key!). I’ve included a picture of my most recent investment piece – a gold initial necklace. I fell in LOVE with one on Gossip Girl (Blaire Waldorf had it) that I looked up and found out was $400. That was too much for me but I later found the one pictured for $100 (still not cheap, but again, an investment piece) at TJMaxx and I haven’t regretted it for a second!
While were talking about investing here’s a list of 5 items I would argue you’ll never regret investing in:
- The perfect pair of jeans
- Nude colored heels (trust me)
- A great watch (I’m a Michael Kors fan but pick your poison)
- One really nice leather handbag (try em before you buy em, make sure you get the right size, shape, and straps)
- A ‘bib’ necklace. One flashy, fancy, big ole bib necklace can go a long way to dress up a plain back dress, a colorful tshirt with jeans and a blazer, and a whole slew of other items.(I bought a Stella and Dot one while hosting a jewelry party and getting a giant discount and I love it) Know When to Ditch. One common wardrobe mistake is trying to stretch things longer than they should. Don’t be afraid to ditch faded, stretched out, or ill-fitting clothing. I give you permission even if you paid too much or it, or haven’t worn it many times. Don’t waste the closet space. Ditch it and move on.
The sister mistake to this is buying sale items just because they’re on sale. Don’t do it. Buy colors, shapes, and sizes that flatter and none that don’t, EVEN if they’re only $5.
Shop Out of Season. Budget well and shop out of season. For the most part, you know what you’ll wear each season in time to buy it clearance the year before. Certainly, you may want to buy a few trendy pieces you didn’t know would be ‘cool’ that year, but don’t buy all your summer clothes while they’re in season or you’ll spend more than double what you should. Frequently you can get a great coat for 75% as winter ends and spring begins. This is a great time to visit department stores! They’re overpriced, yes, but they have excellent sales! More than an LBD. In your 20’s you are constantly invited to weddings, showers, bachelorette parties, and baby related events, are you not? This is another great chance to plan ahead and save money while still having the perfect outfit. Always check the dress section of sales – you can frequently find great dresses for a fraction of the cost and have them in your wardrobe for when you need them. This will save you literally hundreds of dollars if you do it right vs. rushing out to buy a new dress for a wedding the weekend before. You may find, like me, that you like what you get far better as well.
The red dress pictured was also a Nordstrom Rack purchase. Originally $178 I bought it for $23. I later wore it for a wedding reception for a couple that eloped AND have worn it on a few ‘girls nights out’ as well. I’ve gotten way more than my $23 dollars’ worth out of it already. I will also mention I had it tailored for $5 so that it fit just right. So make that a $28 dollar dress when all is said and done. Having it in advance also allowed me to make sure I already had shoes and accessories that worked with it. The problem with buying a full priced dress last minute for events is that you frequently also end up buying things to go with it!
I hope this ‘how to’ has been helpful to you! I’d love feedback or any ideas you might have that I didn’t mention here. I’m always looking for ways to get more for less! I hope this post really thrilled your inner frugal fashionista! And hey, happy shopping to all.
I am so inspired! Thank you SO much for sharing these tips with us today Becca!! Please stop by Becca’s blog for more inspiration!