As a solopreneur, it’s easy to find myself working through the entire day in pajamas – yoga pants if I’m feeling particularly fancy. As I’ve started expanding into speaking engagements and media appearances however, I’m realizing most audiences probably won’t appreciate my “AM chic” look, and so I’m faced with a new budget challenge- clothing expenses.
Because I practically live in sweats and so rarely need new, let alone professional attire – I don’t have much of a budget for threads. In fact, I don’t have any budget for new clothing. The occasional restock of workout wear and under garments is so minimal, it generally falls into the “miscellaneous” budget category or gets covered by a Christmas gift card to Lululemon.
Luckily, in my search for suitable professional clothing, I stumbled upon two ladies with welcome solutions to my troubles. Today, I’m happy to introduce them to all of you and have them share their top tips for scoring rockstar styles on the cheap. Please join me in welcoming them to the blog…
We, Jen and Pippa, aka. the Too Cheap Blondes, met each other while shopping in a thrift store about two years ago. It only took a lunch and a couple of shopping trips before we figured out that we both loved thrifting!
We grew up having to shop at thrift stores, but now we choose to be frugal and wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks to our fabulous thrift store finds, we’ve grown accustomed to wearing stylish, high-end clothing. Today we’re thrilled to share with you how we’re able to dress well without going over budget or into debt.
Each month, we look forward to getting current fashion magazines such as InStyle and Glamour. We then try to recreate an outfit or trend from the magazines using thrift store finds for pennies on the dollar of the full retail price.
Since trends tend to come back around every decade, the thrift store is an easy place to pick up the trendy items that may not be in style forever. This spring and summer for example, the “little denim dress” and gingham are in – both are trends we’ve already seen several times.
We asked Stefanie if we could find a few things for her using our discount shopping techniques. She shared with us some of her favorite name brands to point us in the right direction- then, using our thrift tips, we looked for high-end fabrics with quality construction, coming up with this gorgeous navy BCBG dress!
This versatile dress can be dressed down with a jacket or cardigan during the day and worn alone for evening wear. Our golden rule is to never pay more than 10% of retail. Retailing at $158, finding this dress for only $2 kept us well within our spending guidelines.
We were recently featured on the front page of Yahoo! after dressing an entire bridal party for under $20 using thrift store finds.
We find amazing formal and cocktail dresses all of the time and had always joked that we could put together a wedding party ensemble from the thrift store for next to nothing – so we did! The hardest part of the challenge was finding the wedding dress for $2. I’m pretty sure we heard angels singing when Jen pulled out a spectacular J. Crew wedding dress from a Family Thrift Center Outlet store $2 rack. We even surprised ourselves that day!
One of our requirements when we shop is to never buy cheaply made clothing – our dresses for the wedding were no exception. Every one was from a designer label and hung beautifully on our models.
While we have found that most formal dresses have only been worn once, they may have makeup or spray tan at the neckline, deodorant marks and food or beverage stains, or dirt on the hem. Our secret weapon in tackling these spots is the good old blue “Dawn” dishwashing soap. We put it directly on the stains and let it sit for a few hours before hand washing. It has worked to remove the stains on every dress but one!
We were surprised by several of the comments left on our Yahoo! story. Many said “this is the most special day of your life, why would you ruin it by thrifting?” Well, we believe quite the opposite.
Who wants to start out their new life already in debt, and in what world is the amount of money spent on the wedding directly proportionate to how great the day will be?
We also know that not everyone has the option to not thrift for their wedding. We hope that by sharing our thrifting tips brides and their bridesmaids who don’t have the luxury of a blank check can still feel like they are getting the wedding of their dreams.
If you looked through both of our closets, you would find them filled with thousands of dollars worth of designer clothing, of which, 95% was bought from thrift stores! We agree that there are a few items that might be hard to find through thrifting, like shoes and maybe the perfect pair of jeans – but the money we have saved by not paying retail on most of our clothing allows us to spend more than we normally would in order to buy the occasional pair of designer shoes, or the bag we have been coveting!
One of the top myths about thrift shopping is “it’s dirty and could bring bed bugs into your home!” Just remember that when you go to a hotel, are sleeping on sheets someone else has slept (and heavens knows what else) on, showering with towels someone else had dried off on, and wiping your mouth with linen napkins that someone else has wiped their mouth with. Guess what? Washing machines are an amazing invention!
We hope that if you’re not already an avid thrifter, you’ll go out and give it a try. You may be surprised with the treasures lurking in your neighborhood thrift shop. Happy thrifting!
Check out Jen and Pippa’s latest thrift store finds at Too Cheap Blondes.