Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Tag: shopping

The Day I Went Shopping

Y’all know how I’ve been complaining about this fashion rut I’ve been in lately?

I had a feeling that a good shopping trip would cure my blues and give me some renewed inspiration. But, after several failed attempts recently, I was very nervous that I might never have a good shopping trip again (perhaps a bit dramatic, but it was a legitimate concern!)

Well, I was fortunately wrong. So very, very wrong. This weekend I went shopping, and 5 hours later…was the proud owner of more new clothes than I have ever bought at one time in my entire life. I ended up with 23 new items (well, 2 of them were tights, which don’t really count. So, 21 new items) and paid a grand total of $102.00.

Are you guys caught up on New Girl? I don’t want to spoil anything, but when Allie meets Winston’s mom, they discover that they are both card-carrying DDS – deep discount shoppers. I should be in this group. Let me break it down for you:

My highest average spent per item was in TJ Maxx. I have always liked TJ Maxx, but it’s hard to find true steals there, since they never run sales and put very few things on clearance. So, I paid full price for both the pair of pants and the off-the-shoulder (this will be a theme in today’s post) top I bought, for a grand total of $37 (all prices include tax, unless otherwise noted.). However, I forgot to take a picture of these. I think I’m still a LITTLE on the fence, because, well, they were full-price, and that doesn’t fit in with my DDS creed!

Next highest total was at a consignment store. Y’all, this is why I so rarely shop at thrift/consignment stores. It’s only a little bit because I think thrift stores are dirty and smell bad and I don’t like the hunting through garbage aspect. It’s also very much because I can find new things for the same or less money. Nevertheless, the consignment store was my first stop before I knew I was going to hit pay dirt elsewhere, and I walked away with a cute dress, sweatshirt-top, and blouse for $33. Not bad.

Next up is Ross. This is like the poor man’s version of TJ Maxx; literally, and figuratively. I’ve never seen so much emphasis on loss prevention than at Ross, where you are greeted by a security guard wearing a jacket that says, well, “Loss Prevention.” It’s not a pleasant shopping experience, but of the three big discount clothing stores – TJs, Marshalls, and Ross, I’ve found Ross to have the best dress (and sometimes shoe) collection. So, I go in there for those two departments alone. This time, I think I found my Easter dress. I’m still trying to decide if off-the-shoulder is appropriate for church (I’ll wear my hair down, and have a choir robe on most of the time…feel free to weigh in). It was $10.99 (plus tax).

But here’s where it really starts getting good. I had a couple gift cards for JCPenney – one I knew had $25 on it; the other I’d recently found and could have had $2.93, for all I knew. Anyway, JCP had items on their deepest clearance level, PLUS an additional 25% off coupon. So, for $28, I got a skirt, two pairs of pants, and a pair of shorts. And, my other gift card also had $25, so not only were these items totally free for me, but I still have about $21 left over!

And yes, those are silver pants. Because why not?

And now for my shopping masterpiece, I present, Old Navy. I know they’re cheap clothes, so to say I got good deals there is not probably as exciting as finding the rose-printed LOFT sweatershirt pictured above for $7. But, I will still revel in my victory.

When I recently opened the Old Navy credit card, they immediately sent me an offer that if I used the card outside of their brand within the first 30 days, I’d receive a $30 rewards card. So, I did (and promptly paid it off, of course. Credit card companies probably don’t love me.). Then, a few weeks later, they sent another, similar offer. If I used the card twice outside of their brand, I would get $45 in rewards! So, I bought some gas and a water bottle, paid it off, and had $75 of Old Navy credit to my name.

Well, thanks to the never-ending sales at Old Navy, as well as a very well-stocked clearance section, I struck gold. 2 pairs of pants, 2 dresses, 1 tank top, a sweater, 4 shirts, and 2 pairs of tights later (so, that’s 12 items), my bill came to about $98.  By itself, that’s a pretty good deal for 12 items. But, after my rewards, the total I owed was $12 and some change. Y’all. Twelve dollars. That’s a dollar per item. For new clothing.

My favorite part is that I almost bought that hot pink sweater when it was new and probably like 30% off. I would have paid $25-30 for it. Instead, I paid $3.47! Or, you know, nothing, depending on how you attribute those rewards.

So…it was a good day. Also not pictured, the (also off-the-shoulder) blush, silky top I’d bought at Kohl’s earlier that day for $8.

I don’t anticipate I’ll go shopping again anytime soon; my wardrobe has been completely revitalized, and my wheels are turning thinking of all of the new outfits I can create! So, maybe my mojo is back, after all. Let’s all hope.

Are you a DDS? If so, what are some of your best finds? I get way too excited about good bargains (as evidenced by this very long post), so I’d love to hear your stories!

Sometimes She’d Shop

For Christmas, I was given a wonderful gift from my father and brother – money.  Honestly, when I reflect on my season of unemployment, I’m grateful that it was only three months.  It seemed like forever, but I know many people who have been without income for 6 months, a year, or even longer.  But, I did really miss shopping.

Of course, I should have used that money to pay some bills…but, it was a gift, so I wanted to use it for me.  It’s burned a hole in my pocket, of course, but I do still have a little left.  I thought you might like to know what I’ve purchased so far – a lesson in getting some very real bang for your buck.

My shopping spree started at Target, where the Cartwheel app gave me 20% off clearance clothes.  Of course, the deep, deep discounts won’t be taken for another couple of weeks (it’s always right around my birthday), so I know these items will get cheaper, even taking into consideration 20% off.  With that in mind, I held off on items with a lot of stock.  But I did snag a cute camel blazer and navy heels for about $35 together.

Next I hit up a couple consignment stores – Plato’s Closet and a similar local place (with some higher end stuff).  I’ve never been opposed to used clothing, but I just hate thrift stores – they’re dirty and overwhelming because of all the things I definitely DO NOT want.  But, consignment stores tend to have more current styles and are generally much cleaner and better organized.  My best finds were an Anthropologie skirt (which looks like it’s never been worn), and a heavy wool Tahari cardigan for $9.
1231151551a.jpgI also went to the mall and found a couple great deals at Rue 21 (I know – teenagers, but for a slouchy beanie, who cares if it’s poor quality), the Limited, and Bath and Body works.

When it was all said and done, I am now the proud owner of:

  • 1 – blazer
  • 1 – blanket scarf
  • 2 – cardigans
  • 1 – blouse
  • 3 – skirts
  • 1 – pair of pumps
  • 1 – beanie
  • 4 – refills for B&BWorks air fresheners

all for a grand total of….$100!

It may have been my most rewarding shopping trip of all.  But mostly, I’m just happy to have new clothes to wear to my new job!

Have you ever had a remarkable shopping trip?  What are some of the best deals you’ve ever scored?  If you got money for Christmas, have you spent it yet or are you a little more patient than me?

Two-fer Tuesday: the Pink Belt

Y’all know I love a good belt.  There’s just something about that simple accessory that can really make an outfit go from just fine to totally put together.

Of course, belts are a little tricky.  The width of the belt, its position on the waist/hips, the waistline of the dress, all make for a game of trial and error.  My solution to this problem, obviously, is just to have dozens of belts.  Then there will almost always be one that fits exactly what you’re looking for.

In a lot of ways, wide belts have had their day in the sun and are being replaced by their more narrow counterparts (or no belt at all).  The long tunic with a wide belt around your hips, for example – a staple of my grad school wardrobe – is no longer en vogue.  But, with a couple trendier pieces, the wide belt can still make a statement and add a little interest (and variation to the lines – I’m all about lengthening my waist 2 inches).

So, here are two uses of one of my favorite wide belts.  I’ve worn both of these pieces multiple times with different belts/shoes/accessories (here’s a variation on the polka dots and one on the jumpsuit).  But, the pink allows me to play up different colors and create a completely new look (something that isn’t always easy with dresses and jumpsuits.  They kinda are what they are).

1 - polka dots and pinkMy cute little necklaces are from Ornaments for Orphans.  I’ve probably plugged them before, but you should totally buy from them and support their cause (after you’ve purchased everything Rahab’s Rope has for sale, of course.)

1 - jumpsuit, pink beltThis jumpsuit is super hard to photograph.  I promise it’s cuter in real life.  And the pink is really subtle – you can actually see it better in the shoe close-up, on the leg of the pant.  I like pulling out minor, unexpected colors to make an outfit more interesting.

How do you feel about belts?  A fashion staple or an unnecessary hassle?  Do you think my addition really made a difference, or was the mix and match too understated to be noticeable?  Let’s talk – I’ve missed y’all!

One-fer Tuesday

Well, I feel a little bit like a failure.  I tried really hard to find two matching outfits I could post for Two-fer Tuesday, and I had nothing in my reserves.  Not even a duplicate pair of earrings, which is really quite shocking as I tend to get in ruts with my jewelry and wear the same things over and over for weeks.

So, alas, here is simply one recent favorite outfit.  I will say this, though – my shoes don’t exactly match.  And I really love that.  While there is pink in my dress, it’s a different shade than the neon on my feet.  For the girl who used to wear head-to-toe yellow like she was a Pentecostal church lady, this was a lesson that took a while to learn.  But, the hot pink really matched the tone of the dress, and since it didn’t clash with anything – and was a good distance from any colors to which it might be compared – it was safe to mix the two shades.  Do it with confidence, and almost anything will work.  Almost.

1 - tribal print, pink shoesP.S.  My awesome sparkly earrings are from Sam Moon, my latest accessories obsession.  Don’t shop there if you want to shop ethically – everything is from China. Definitely not fair trade.  But, if you’re a sucker for cheap jewelry…your mind is about to be blown!

PSA: Go Shopping!

This is an important public service announcement.

Altar’d State, one of my favorite chain boutiques, is having a 70% off all sale items sale!  And this is not just one rack of clothes, y’all.  About a quarter of the store was devoted to these amazing mark-downs.

I went to the mall last night, fully intending to just return a dress and buy my mom a birthday gift.  I have already over-spent my budget for this month, and Dave Ramsey would not be pleased with me spending more right now.

But, 70% OFF!!!!  There is no human in this world strong enough to resist that lure.  I consider it a gift from God when I accidentally hit sales like that, so $75 later, I’m two dresses, a jumpsuit, tank top, scarf, and pair of shoes richer.  I’ll work it out next month.

If you don’t have an Altar’d State near you, check them out online.  Cute stuff, kinda overpriced, but the sale makes it definitely affordable.  And, they’re a Christian company that gives a portion of their proceeds to charity – you gotta like that in a mall store.

That is all.  Have a great weekend, everyone, and if you do find some good deals – at Altar’d State or elsewhere – let me know!

How to succeed at Christmas without even trying

We interrupt this (ir)regularly scheduled program to bring you a public service announcement:

I’m here to help you win Christmas!

Over my years of working in retail/blogging about fashion/knowing men, I have heard so often a sad, resounding theme, “It doesn’t matter what I buy; she’s just going to take it back anyway.”  And every time I hear it uttered, it is with such discouragement and total defeat that my heart breaks a little for the poor guy who has tried so hard!

So, I want to help.  There are only 20 shopping days left til Christmas – fewer if you shop online – but that’s more than enough time to get a gift she’ll really love.

Before I explain how we can do this together, let me explain who I think might benefit most:

  • Anyone who is tired of hearing “it’s the thought that counts” as they hand over the receipt
  • Anyone who feels completely out of his element shopping for a picky wife/girlfriend/mom/sister/other female relative
  • Anyone who hates malls – especially at Christmas time
  • Anyone who is just really busy right now (or really lazy – no judgment)
  • Anyone with a holiday party or other special event (interview, big date, wedding, etc.) coming up that doesn’t know what to wear

Notice, I said “anyone” – feeling lost at gift giving and shopping is a challenge that affects both sexes (although men seem to complain about it more).

So, how do we overcome this challenge?  It’s really easy – let me shop for you!  You give me a few details about who you are shopping for (I’ve got a survey all drawn up); what you are looking for (a full outfit, a nice sweater, jewelry), and your budget, and I’ll give you three choices on what to buy, so that you can still say you picked it out! (Don’t worry – they will all be approved by me, so you can rest assured there is no “wrong one” to pick).

I’ll then send you the ordering information, the guaranteed delivery by Christmas date, and return information…just in case.  All you have to do is place the order and then wrap. Preferably not like this, my dad’s wrapping one year:

FB_IMG_1415764797406The best part is, I’ll do it for free!  All I ask is that after she opens her new favorite gift on Christmas you write a review for me, ideally with pictures, so that one day I can charge money for this service.

So what do you think – have we got a deal?

To get started, or if you have any questions, please email me at tastefullytrendyATgmail.  Of course, if you know me in real life, you can always send me a text or fb message.  Looking forward to working with you!

Baby It’s Cold Outside (sometimes)

It’s Friday, y’all, and that means a very busy weekend, as I get ready for Christmas and a cross-country move.  But, as one of my friends said, “sleep is overrated”.

The weather is actually unseasonably warm today – I’m not sure how I feel about that.  But, a few days ago when I wore this outfit, it was not at all warm, so I layered with long sleeves, wool, tights, and boots.

I love this wool skirt, one of my favorite examples of patience at work.  I almost bought it when it was full price at JCP a few years ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Low and behold, a few weeks later, the clearance rack decided to bless me, and the black-and-white-plaid-with-the-pink-belt skirt was mine! My philosophy is generally that if you wait for something to go on sale and it disappears, you didn’t really need it in the first place.  With few exceptions, that principle has been stretching my money and expanding my wardrobe for years.

Thanks to a bracelet with inspirational colors, I decided to pair a deep green, almost teal, shirt with the pink accessories, keeping the bottom half of my look simple and warm!

I hope everyone has a great weekend – let’s go Christmas shopping!

Skirt: JCPenney
Shirt: Old Navy
Sorry, guys – I don’t remember the rest…

Sometimes She’d Shop

There may be this notion out there that I’m addicted to shopping. I’m not. I really have to be in the mood, because I get depressed when nothing I try on looks good, just like everyone else. But I do enjoy shopping when that mood hits, and I do have a lot of clothes and shoes.

Today I thought I would show you how I shop, though, so you can see why I’m not completely bankrupt, despite my extensive wardrobe.

Below is a picture of my mall finds from a spontaneous shopping trip yesterday (I went to kill time for a few hours by looking and apparently I was in the mood…oops!). You will note the following:

A maxi dress
2 belts
A tank top
2 pairs of heels
2 pairs of earrings
Nail polish
5 anti-bacterial things
The cutest sweater known to man
A ring (unpictured because I’d already put it away and forgot to take it out).

That’s a lot of stuff. Want to venture a guess on how much I paid?  I’ll give you a hint – full price, the dress/gold belt, and two pairs of shoes would have been $140. 

Any guesses?  Okay, time’s up!  The answer is $107.  Yes.  I got all of that for 1/3 less than the price of three of those items.  And that was with paying full price for the sweater, even (I never do that, but seriously – cutest sweater ever). 

Now if you’re a quality over quantity person, my method may not work for you – or may, at least, require a bit more patience and delayed gratification.  However, even at cheapo stores, you can find reasonably good quality things if you are selective. 

Sometimes, my method requires that you buy the belt you mostly like instead of the one you really like because it’s a difference of $1.99 and $4.99 – those $3 differences add up.  But, some other times, if you’re patient, you get the exact shoes you tried on a few months ago when they were full price, for $13. 

Here’s the breakdown of where everything is from, if you’re interested:
A maxi dress – JCPenney
2 belts – JCP (came with the dress) and Charlotte Russe
Shorts – Forever 21
A tank top – H&M
2 pairs of heels – JCPenney (Worthington brand)
2 pairs of earrings – JCPenney (they were free with a coupon!) and Wet Seal
Sunglasses – Charlotte Russe
Nail polish – Forever 21
5 anti-bacterial things – Bath and Body Works.  I now smell like fall.
Barettes – Wet Seal
The cutest sweater known to man – Love Culture
A ring (unpictured)  – Love Culture

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