Tag Archives: bargain clothes

My clothing haul from the synagogue rummage sale!

The local synagogue holds an annual two-day rummage sale every November that’s open to all. With a fun, upbeat atmosphere, it’s a big hit around here and I, like lots of locals, look forward to it. They have lots of household items, shoes, and many tables piled with clothes as well as additional clothes on racks. This year I was focused almost exclusively on shoes and clothes.

The key, I’ve found, to doing well at this type of sale is to go rested, fed, hydrated, and with an open mind. You have to be willing to methodically root through the various piles to find what might suit you; for example all the jeans – and there were many – are piled together without regard to size. It’s a bit of work and not everybody enjoys it, but I do, especially when it pays off. (I see a lot of women half-heartedly look at a few things on the tops of the piles and give up. Not me. I mean business.)

The first day has set, albeit low, prices and the second day is half-off household stuff & shoes and a single price ($8 this year) to fill a bag of clothes. The bag is a grocery store sized paper bag (I was a tad disgruntled the years they offered only a small grocery store plastic bag so I was happy to see the return of the brown paper bag on day two of the sale.) I was very pleased with my first day finds: a pair of Levis 712 slim jeans, a print 3/4 sleeve top, and a(nother) Downton Abbey type of winter hat (I’ve acquired two others secondhand prior to this). The jeans and top were each $4 and the hat $3. I didn’t buy them to be a “set” per se (and found them in three different locations) but looking at the photo, they DO look like a nice outfit together!

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I wasn’t sure that I’d go back the second day but spontaneously decided to return for “bag day.” Having already found three nice items, I didn’t feel pressed to find more and took the attitude that if I wasn’t having fun, I’d leave. As it turned out, I enjoyed myself, stayed two hours and found a bunch of good stuff. They have a small restroom where you can try on clothes; I always take advantage of this and I was really happy to find a working heater installed this year! (Gets chilly in there.) I paid $8 total for all that follows.

These two t-shirts were great; flattering fit and colors. The brand is Caston which I’ve never heard before.
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I saw this shirt on the first day and LOVED the print (I’d like some tie-dye in my life) but I didn’t want to spend $4 on it. I was surprised it was still there the second day.IMG_20181115_093554_kindlephoto-4636398.jpg

I found a pretty Chicos t-shirt but was a bit loose on me. Figuring that I’d be paying under a dollar for it – and it was closer to .50 when all was said and done – I went ahead and got it. The irony here is that the shirt was a size 0. Before you decide I must be impossibly small, let me note that whenever I’ve seen Chicos clothes in second-hand stores, etcetera, they look HUGE to me; clearly the brand uses “vanity sizing.” So anyway, once I had it home, I decided to hand-stitch a seam straight down the back, taking in about 2″ total. Then the shirt fit me nicely.

I think of shirts like these as “play clothes”, nothing fancy but useful and cute. I never heard of the Simply Southern brand and I’m not Southern but have to admit it’s a pretty catchy name. They must have thought so too because the brand name is written on the sleeve and printed in BIG lettering on the back (see the photo). I also included a closeup of the illustration on the bottom of the Faded Glory shirt because it’s a bit odd: children in row boats. These children reappear on the sleeves and the tiny pockets as well. I can’t decide if they’re wearing life jackets. Where are their parents? Are they fishing? They have no rods. I’m worried about them.

These two sweaters are Croft & Barrow (blue) and Ann Taylor (green). Typically, sweaters in my uh, price range, are cheaply made and scratchy, so I don’t buy sweaters. These are soft and very nice. The blue is big – about a size or more big – but I decided that’s okay; it’ll work with leggings and a hat to balance it out.
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I like what I’ve seen of New York & Company clothes, which these next two sweaters are. Both are soft and feminine. The red is a true red – like fire engine – but I couldn’t quite capture the exact shade with my tablet. The black one has a little built-in tie at the neck so I included a close-up.
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I’d seen this swan shirt on day one of the sale and passed it by. I don’t have any clothes with animals on them and wouldn’t normally consider it. But oh my! This was sort of a cross between a sweat shirt and a sweater and felt great. It looked good too so what the hell? The swan is stitched into the fabric not an applique. (My only association with swans is a story by the Southern writer Bailey White that revealed how mean swans can be. Her story is vivid and I never forgot it.)IMG_20181115_095728_kindlephoto-3583144

Here we have my first pair of hot pink jeans! Normally I wouldn’t get something like this because not a whole lot goes with hot pink jeans, but at this price – under a buck – I went for it. The blue blob is a hat so I included me modeling it so you could see that.

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This last top was so beautiful and dressy. It has an inner camisole. Since it didn’t look like much laid out on the table, I modeled it too.

Hope you enjoyed the bargain fashion tour. I enjoyed writing it!

Bargain shoes find their outfit

Last year I posted about buying low-heeled rummage sale shoes. I’ve been wearing most of my finds but one pair thwarted me.

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The problem shoes

Every time I tried to wear these “Dexter” brand shoes I thought they looked stupid. I figured they’d go with jeans but I didn’t like how they looked plus they seemed a little conservative for my style. I’d never had shoes like them (driving shoes? mocassins?) and they made me uncertain. I didn’t want to give up too soon so I held on to them. Then in the summer on a whim I tried them with shorts. Yes! It worked.

 

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The top was one of a shocking(!) 17 I bought from someone selling clothes on a yardsale Facebook group in late winter. I got lucky first in that nobody else was eyeing summer clothes then and that so many of her clothes fit me. They were nice things but she’d put on weight, she told me, and could no longer wear them. They averaged 60 cents apiece! The shorts were from a thrift store and the hat, which has lasted years, came from Dollar Tree. I added inexpensive shoe pads to make the shoes more comfortable and wore little nylon footies – also found at Dollar Tree at 3 for a buck – that don’t show. The shoes make the shorts outfit look dressier than with sport or open-toe shoes. I felt pulled together and very comfortable.

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Shorts in Winter (Bargain Style)

Here’s another winter outfit I recently put together.

 

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I got the Champion leggings for a couple dollars from Amazon. Here’s my tip for finding bargains there. Type in what you’re looking for, as in Women’s Leggings under Fashion and then make the price range for your search really low. I might type in under $5 (if that turns up nothing, I then sometimes change it to under $6 or $7). I prefer Amazon-fulfilled items with free shipping, especially those marked “free returns”. That means if you’re not happy for whatever reason, they’ll take it back no questions as long as it’s in the same shape it arrived in.

The Merona sweater was too big for my sister who passed it on to me (yay! free!). I picked up the hat for $2 at a yard sale and added one of my (second-hand of course) pins. The furry-lined Lauren Conrad boots were a thrift store find (I think they were $2 but no more than $4). I recently saw a picture in a magazine of socks worn over boot tops on the outside. Doing that wouldn’t have occurred to me especially given the utilitarian nature of the socks I’ve been wearing for many years. That is, till this past Fall when I treated myself to a bunch of cute socks (from Amazon, using my “cheap” search method), so I had a pair that matched the rest of the ensemble.

I see plenty of women who wear leggings without butt coverage and I see plenty of women who should NOT be wearing leggings without butt coverage. It’s just not a look that works well on many, especially thin leggings. Unfortunately, I just don’t have enough long or tunic-style tops to pair with leggings. First I tried a short black skirt over them but it didn’t look right. Then I remembered my summer shorts stored in a bin under my bed – success! Butt coverage and added layer. I loved how this whole thing looked and I felt very comfortable and warm.

Outfit for a cold January day (bargain style)

It’s trickier to look good in winter. And stay warm. Too many winter clothes seem bulky, shapeless, and generally unflattering. I like body-fitting clothes that don’t allow chilly breezes to easily pass through and also let me feel more woman, less abominable snowman.

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I’ve had these Miss Posh (a UK brand) legging pants for several years. I found them discounted at a Ross store. I call them “legging pants” because they have structure and some heft, unlike so many flimsy leggings that soon pill and stretch out (and you wouldn’t dream of wearing without a long, butt-covering top).

A local church thrift store put out its winter stock in 2015 when it was still kinda warm and nobody was looking at sweaters. I happened to be there that day and pounced on the opportunity to look through the clothes before they were too picked-over. That’s how I found this great (International Concepts) sweater for $3. Sweaters usually itch the hell out of me, besides which most second hand ones are stretched out and often pretty hideous. So I don’t own many sweaters. This was a great find. The arms are long enough for me – yay – and it’s non-itchy.

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I made these earrings recently. So festive.

I got the Lauren Conrad boots for a couple bucks at a thrift store. Lace-up boots are fun and sexy. A low-heel and warm, faux-fur lining make these practical as well.

The unstructured hat, which I found in the Fall for $2 at big yard sale featuring many sellers, has a furry feel to the touch (like a soft cat) and compliments the sweater’s fabric. It doesn’t have a brand name on it but the tag says it’s made of nylon & spandex. I have a small collection of pretty pins and add them to my coats and hats. It seems silly to put on jewelry that gets completely covered by hats, coats, scarves, etcetera so I like my outerwear to sport jewelry of its own.

Finally, a woman was selling the Perlina bag on an online yardsale group. She asked $5 but I didn’t want (or need) it that much. I even went home without the purse but then took a chance and offered $3 which the seller accepted to my happy surprise. It’s very shiny.

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I have never referred to a purse as a “bag” before but this one merits the fancy descriptor.

 

Outfit for a Special Occasion (bargain style)

I had a special event to attend on a late Spring evening and I wanted to dress up. I’d be walking outdoors in prematurely hot weather and then be inside with air conditioning. Here’s my outfit:
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This is a favorite dress – “a most excellent dress” – I bought new for $10 over ten years ago. I haven’t worn it too often so it’s still in nice shape. It’s probably the lowest cut piece of clothing I own; I’ve never been too comfortable with showing a lot of boobage. Short skirts & dresses, yes. Still, I’m at ease with the neckline here because not only is it fitted to the body and not gaping, but the ruffle adds another layer of material to the top.

Did I say this dress is short? I’m a good bit older than when I bought it and while I’m not ready to stop showing my legs, I could see it was too short for me now. I toyed with sewing a piece of fabric to the hemline but happily (since that was going to be boring hand sewing), just letting out the hem with a seam ripper gave the dress another solid inch of length and voila! That did the trick. The dress is now about 35″ long. (Should I still have this dress in five or ten years, maybe THEN I’ll sew on an extra piece of fabric!)

Comfortable flats for standing & walking.

Comfortable flats for standing & walking.

I knew I might get cold inside so I took this little jacket purchased from a thrift store or rummage sale (can’t remember which).
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It’s so cute, not to mention a great match for this dress but for some reason I never seemed to wear it. I studied it to figure out why. The problem was it had two sets of snaps where the two fabric flowers are but none higher, so the loose fabric of the jacket hung open oddly at the top when I put it on, threatening to slide off my shoulders. To remedy this, I removed and re-sewed two snaps closer to the top, which made it fit much better.

When you have a special garment like this dress, it’s best not to over-accessorize in order to let it take center stage. Dress and skin are enough. For jewelry I paired earrings I made with this Avon necklace I got at a yard sale which I wore as a bracelet by wrapping it twice around my wrist. (I originally got that slick idea from a magazine or book.) Not all necklaces can work as bracelets but this one was perfect, especially since with all those loops, it could be hooked closed wherever I wanted.
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(And here’s the necklace looking like a necklace:)

At a yard sale a few years ago I was delighted to find this and picked it up just in time I guess because another lady quickly asked if I was taking it. Oh yes I was!

At a yard sale a few years ago I was delighted to find this and picked it up just in time I guess because another lady quickly asked if I was taking it. Oh yes I was!

If I wasn’t going to be doing much walking and/or wanted to shake things up to make this outfit more fun/sexy, I’d bring in red touches. These sandals have about a two inch heel. A red purse would be really cute too but I don’t have a red purse. (Note to self: keep thrifty eyes open for red purse.)
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Early Spring Outfit (bargain-style)

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I put this together to go to a social event on a sunny, breezy, cool Spring day. I think the mix of black with strong, bright colors exemplifies the changing season. If I got too warm I could remove the jacket; the dress has half sleeves. I rolled up the jacket sleeves so the amount of skin I bared at my wrists matched the amount of leg I showed between the capris and boots.

I got the fabulous orange purse (one even men notice/compliment which is rare in my experience), the unstructured jacket, and the Frye boots that just needed spiffying up, for only a dollar apiece from thrift stores. I don’t buy leather goods as a rule but my thinking with second-hand leather is the cow is already dead and the profits are going to a thrift store, nonprofit, etcetera. My high ticket item, the $10 Mi Manchi dress, came several years ago from, appropriately, a Ross Dress Store, and I found the leggings for $4 on Amazon.

I wore an orange ring, red dangly earrings, a silver watch and silver bracelet.

A story of a new (bargain) shirt

I like clothes. Always have. I’m not high-end, mostly favoring thrift stores. I want the savings, yes, but I also feel this country is obscenely awash in clothes. I don’t want to add to the problem.

It wasn’t like this when I was growing up. Now, I can’t believe how swamped we are in clothes. Not only is there an abundance of new things, thrift stores, church sales, and private yard sales almost always feature piles & piles of clothes.
The value of clothes, save designer and other “desirable” labels, has plummeted. I know a lot of these clothes – perfectly decent things – must end up in the dump. At a point, even charities are saturated. I try to be mindful of this when shopping.

I want to show you a recent store-bought find.

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Isn’t that beautiful? It’s just my type. Awesome colors, flattering, and the sleeves are long enough.

But look at this!
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49 cents?!? I almost wondered why they didn’t just give it to me! Clearly they wanted it gone! Usually if something in a store starts at $16.99, and ends up at 49 cents, there are several stops along the way, a series of increasingly lower stickers stacked on top of one another; $14.99, $11.99, $6.99, and so on. This had no stack. Just one swift price cut. (Sometimes, this means a close examination of the garment at hand will reveal a big tear in the seam or a mystery stain, for examples, but I saw nothing wrong with this shirt).

My time in retail was brief and did not extend beyond my teenage years; I’ve no idea how these things work. And I’d imagine things have changed anyway. It makes me wonder, though, if this shirt hadn’t sold at this price, where would it go next? (They don’t have a “free” pile in the store – nor have I ever seen such a thing.) Out of curiosity I just googled “where do clothes that don’t sell go“. Oh this is nice. Destroyed so they can’t be worn and tossed into the garbage, at least in some instances. Why am I not surprised. Some unwanted clothes get sold en masse, i.e., by the pound, to Africa, which is also where a lot of donated second-hand clothes go, apparently.

I also learned why labels are often cut out of clothing that turns up in marked-down or thrift stores. The fancy label people don’t want their good name tarnished by having it worn by the likes of poor people who couldn’t afford it new! Hahaha! That’s good [sarcasm]. It’s like saying, “I’ll help you out, but you can’t tell anyone you know me.” Oh, I like that [more sarcasm]. What if you were a homeless person and got some designer hand-out with the label cut out, so you made a big cardboard sign with the designer‘s name crudely written on it and wore it around your neck while walking about your city? Now that, that would be good!

I am starting to feel better about my 49 cent shirt, given all this. A little anyway. Buying new clothes may be perpetuating a problem, yet on the other hand, I possibly saved this shirt from the garbage.

I want to show you the label that came with it.

Huh? What's this now?

Huh? What’s this now?

I’ve kept this label and read it several times. This is just the sort of thing that bothers and preoccupies me. What on earth does it mean?? Clearly, the brand went to a bit of trouble, maybe even hired a writer, to come up with this. But it doesn’t make any sense. How do “unique artworks” and “fond memories” come together with my “personal style?” How, I ask you, how?! Whose fond memories?? Mine? Theirs? I don’t know the people at Vintage Suzie. This is the first I’ve ever heard of the name, so their fond memories really aren’t of much interest.

And what about this albeit pretty shirt reflects “beautiful eras” and “exotic places?” Lord, they aren’t talking about the 60’s and 70’s are they? And the admonition that I “be beautiful, live differently, and dress Vintage Suzie?” If I was going to “live differently,” I doubt buying and wearing clothes would have much to do with it. Don’t people who “live differently” tend to do things like set up homesteading in the woods? Or start themselves a scary cult? Or insist on being called Sir Lancelot the Eighteenth, or some such? Buying fashions, cute, “vintage,” or not, aren’t usually high on the priorities.

Lest you think, as I initially did, that the copy was written by someone not overly familiar with English – and I am being unfair in mocking it – let me end by showing you this.

Yep, USA.

Yep, USA.