I apologize for the non-Friday Fashionista Friday post, but let’s jump right in.
As I mentioned last week, each week I will have a post on Friday that is in some way related to my other love aside from health and fitness that happens to be clothes.
This week, I thought I would feature some of my favorite stores and websites. I don’t ever spend much on the things I wear, more often than not, the parts of my outfit are from end-of-season sales. You can find some excellent stuff here and unless you’re buying for your Vogue fashion shoot, does anyone really care if your sweater is from a shipment that was two whole months ago? Doubtful.
So here are my basic rules of thumb for broadening my wardrobe:
- Never buy anything online unless the shipping and returns are free (there are almost always coupons for free shipping and it can save you from some major headaches.)
- If you see something you like in a store that’s full price, watch it for a little while, there are coupons, coupons online, in your junk e-mail box, in your real mail box, everywhere and you can see some major savings.
- Make wise splurges. Your
Forever 21 is definitely one of those only-buy-in-the-store sort of places. You can find some great stuff here, but the quality is wildly varied. I once bought a blazer here that is one of my all-time favorite jackets. It’s cute and well-made. My mall recently updated its Forever 21 store and now it’s organized pretty well, but before that, I couldn’t even step FOOT in the place. The music was too loud, there were (literally) piles and piles of clothes that you just had to fish through in hopes of finding something cute. So here are my suggestions of what to pick up here:
- Costume Jewelry: If you ever look at the jewelry at stores like Target, or even some of the fancier “dressy” stores, it is wildly expensive. I love having a zillion different necklaces and bracelets to match to my outfits, but I don’t want to spend much on them– most necklaces, earring sets, and bracelets are under $6! (Just be careful if you’re sensitive to certain metals. Especially with the earrings.)
- Belts Belts Belts: I love belts, but most places you go, they’ll cost you $25 or more. Last time I was in Forever 21, I picked up a cute little pink waist belt for $2.40 and another yellow one for $3.80. Can’t beat it.
- Special Event Dresses: If you have that one special outing or event that you “need something new to wear” for, check here. Prices are good and there are a zillion and one different things to choose from.
- Other: I actually found one of my favorite pairs of shoes here last year. Again, the quality of their shoes is wildly different so just pay attention.
Marshalls is kind of a new-to-me store. In previous years, I used to get wildly overwhelmed by the layout of the store and generally tended to avoid it altogether. But then, I had one trip filled with treasures and have been a fan ever since. My one suggestion for shopping at Marshalls is that you cannot go there with a mission in mind. At least not at first. If you’re going to peruse and see what jumps out at you, that’s when you’ll find 1,001 different fantastic things. Again, the set-up isn’t the best, but if you dig around you can find some great stuff. I am also pretty sure that Marshalls stores vary wildly by location so you may either have an AMAZING one near you, or one with nothing but 1990s-style jeans. Investigate!
- Workout Gear: My favorite sports bras in my inventory are from Marshalls and they cost $12. They’re fun colors, very well-made and the material is thick, which is great. I have also found a few different shirts here (I love long-sleeved workout tops for the winter that are lightweight and I’ve found a couple of very good ones here that cost under $9 each.)
- Shirts: I have found a ton of cute shirts here that are all excellent prices. They are usually big-name brands so you know you’ll be getting something of pretty good quality too.
- Purses: The Marshalls near me has so many purses it’s insane. I can find any color, style or size for ridiculously low prices. Just make sure you test out the zippers and check the seams.
When Banana Republic has a major sale going on (40% off of entire purchase sales seem to be pretty commonplace), it can’t be beat for business casual and professional clothes. Make sure you are either going at a sale time or have a coupon in tow though, because it can be pretty pricey at full-price.
- Business Casual/ Professional Wear: That’s my favorite thing about this place. The styles are classic, but fun and they have something for everyone. I bought one of my favorite dresses from this store just after Christmas for $29. It started at $130-something and I’m sure I will have it for years to come.
- Sales Rack: Lots of cute sweaters and shirts here.
Ohmygoodness the sales. When you hit a good one, you can refurbish an entire wardrobe for about $50. I love just about everything here, but again. Sales, sales, sales.
- GapFit: I love the gap workout line. My favorite black capris that I wear 9 out of 10 times to the gym I found on sale last summer. They’re great because the calf is flared just a tad so they don’t have that overly-tight look to them. The material is thick, but not heavy and even after a zillion washes, they look just as good as they did when I bought them.
- Jeans: You can find jeans here for about $15 when they’re on sale. I love the Always Skinny ones and I got mine for $20. What a steal.
I am not going to even bother listing things here because I love everything, BUT it is definitely a splurge-only store. The clothes are great quality and so, so cute, but I always end up leaving depressed because good luck finding anything less than $80. If you need something unique and fun and colorful and that fits well for that special day, head here.
I love The Limited for professional clothes. Again, the quality can be pretty varied so try everything on.
- Fancy Pants: I hate dress pants, but the only ones in my inventory have come from The Limited. They have lots of different lines, (my current favorite is the Exact Stretch. I have the grey ones!)
- Dresses: They always have cute dresses here with very flattering cuts.
So I think that pretty much covers my main go-tos. I get stuff from all over the place, I love department stores, and even the occasional venture into a thrift shop, but overall, I tend to keep coming back to the places that I listed above.
And so that concludes Fashionista Friday Installment 1! I will be back soon with a Saturday post. Oops. 😉