Are you a savvy shopper, or do you let your heart lead your wallet astray?
I’m very much in the former camp with the occasional dalliance in the latter one! I love a good bargain – I mean, who doesn’t, right? And my wardrobe is stuffed to the gills with bargains I’ve scored over the years, and the outfit I’m wearing completely reflects that from top to toe. Literally from the top of my head to the tips of my toes!
Everything I’m wearing I either bought in the sales or on discount.
‘cough, cough’, smatters small voice of reason in the corner.
Ok, ok. Correction. Not ABSOLUTELY everything I’m wearing. I mean, I’m obviously excluding all me undergarments in this, plus my everyday jewellery and my bag. BUT, everything else, from my boots up to my beret was either bought as a sale bargain or bought on discount.
I’m fortunate that I have some money to play with for my clothes budget; mostly because my work clothes cost very little, leaving more for the fun items. I maybe buy a pair of leggings once every 6 months and never pay more than £20 per pair. However, that doesn’t mean I flash the cash around with gay abandonment. Heavens no. For years, during my 20’s and 30’s, I wasn’t exactly hunting for coins down the back of the sofa, but I did have to count every penny. I became expert at sniffing out bargains, a skill I’m still honing at 50!
Now everyone’s version of what constitutes ‘looking stylish on a budget’ will vary hugely. For some it will be limited to thrifting, to others having a set amount to use each month. It may involve buying a few high end pieces every year to pair with items bought from high street chains.
You see, the tricky thing about doing this kind of post is that one person’s idea of a sensible budget is another’s profligacy. It’s all open to interpretation.
There are many bloggers who dress very stylishly by only buying thrifted clothes which I find hugely admirable. However, some people don’t like thrifting. They just don’t feel comfortable at the thought of wearing someone else’s clothes and I respect that. Personally, I’ve never had a problem with it and over the years I have managed to buy some amazing bargains via charity shops or second hand sites. Building a wardrobe entirely on thrifted clothes can be challenging if you’re at either end of the size spectrum and as a petite, I would find it difficult. And I’m not going to denial that I enjoy that frisson when buying new season clothes or even better, end of season clothes at rock bottom prices!
The key to this post though is showing that you can successfully build a wardrobe that reflects your style personality, without having to buy new clothes at full price.
In some ways, I’m probably a brand’s worse nightmare as I rarely buy clothes full price. I tried to think what ratio of full price to sale price it would be.
20% full price to 80% sales? 10% / 90%?
But I tired quickly, as the thought of percentages made my head hurt. I was never very good at percentages at school. Suffice to say the ratio is definitely a low % full price figure to a high % sale price!
And the outfit I’m wearing couldn’t better reflect that if I tried! Let’s work our way up from bottom to top.
– The boots were nearly 70% off the Recommended Retail Price at a discount store.
– The coated jeans were half price in the sale.
– The gloves were bought on a 20% off promotion.
– The jumper was half price in the sale.
– The jacket was bought during a 30% off promotion.
– The scarf was bought for 5 euros from a market stall on a promotion.
– The beret was bought in the sale, can’t remember for how much.
– And finally, the necklace, ring and bracelet I’m wearing were all sale items, under half price!
Not bad, huh?
The bag is the odd one out as that was bought full price but boy has it given me a fantastic return on my investment as you’ve seen it worn with Tweed and Pearls and a Bomber Jacket & Leopard Print Doc Martens amongst others.
Now before anyone says ‘oh bore off with ya bargains, woman’, I’m not blowing
my own trumpet and saying ‘oooooh look at me and all my great buys’,
like some teenage vlogger gloating over their haul on youtube!
Nothing could be further from the truth. I wore this outfit two weekends ago when Tall Brown Fox and I went out to Sunday lunch and then a mooch around the little gem of a museum in East London called the Geffrye Museum. As I was deciding what to wear for our jaunt to Hoxton, I began to realise that everything I’d picked to wear were either savvy sale triumphs or discerning discount delights, from the key pieces to the accessories.
And so the seed for a post of ‘how to look stylish on a budget’, was planted.
And I didn’t just wear my accessories to show off my bargain buying skills but because they were necessities to wear that day! It was one of those glorious early Spring days when …
the light is so crisp,
the air so fresh,
the sun is so bright
but it’s not quite warmed up enough to dispense with gloves or scarf!
How to be savvy when shopping for a bargain.
Isn’t it easy to get carried away just because something is in the sale? I think we’ve all been there, done that, got the t-shirt!
Not all of us have salaries that after covering bills have enough stretch left in them for endless clothes buying. Bloggers will get given free items of clothing but to date I’ve chosen not to do any collaborations but that will happen when the time is right. Everything you see has been bought with my own hard moolah, so I have to make smart choices to get the most bang for my buck!
The trick is knowing what has worked for you in the past, in case you want to buy similar items, what you already have in your wardrobe so you avoid too many duplications and knowing what gaps are in your wardrobe that could be filled.
This outfit is the perfect example of buying clothes you
a) specifically want
b) are in the market for if you happen to see them
c) you’re not necessarily needing but are at a price that’s too good to pass up.
Take the jeans.
I already own a black pair of coated jeans. I love wearing them so I was purposely looking for a second pair but in another colour. I veritably lusted after these waxed, petite, Brighton biker skinny jeans from Boden in this rich burgundy colour. When they went into the sale, I gleefully swooped to buy a pair.
Take the jumper.
I’ve been slowly upgrading my knitwear and have been keeping my eyes peeled for a light weight jumper that would transition from Winter to Spring AND be ideal for Autumn and this little number from Warehouse ticked the box. It was in their recent Winter end of season sale and when they did an extra 20% off, bringing it down to exactly half price, I didn’t hang around.
The contemporary design is so striking – almost like a modern art painting – yet it’s a design that won’t date. It’s the kind of piece that not only works for casual wear but will look fantastic with a leather skirt, for a feminine yet sophisticated look.
And the best bit apart from the price? The pattern is ALL over the jumper, not just on the front. I can’t tell you how irked I get when I find a jumper I like but discover the pattern is just on the front!
Take the boots.
Keen readers of my blog may remember I already own a pair of snakeskin boots. These booties I’ve worn many times on the blog but which look particularly fetching from a post almost a year ago to the day: Transitioning to Spring
So I was hardly gagging to buy another pair! The issue of owning duplicates that I mentioned earlier.
But sometimes you have to strike when you see. These are from Ecco, a well established Danish brand whose ankle boots can retail for 3 figures. I spotted them in tkmaxx where the price label said RRP £135.00 but the store price was actually £49.99!
50 quid for a top notch pair of uber comfortable, leather boots!!!
I would’ve been daft as Daffy Duck not to have bought them.
Take the jewellery.
My amber ring was a present from Tall Brown Fox but the arrow ring and bracelet I bought in the sale for £3 and £5 respectively, proving fun accessories don’t have to cost the earth.
A little bit of bling can go a long way!
Wallis Petite Faux Leather Jacket A/W15. This seasons Petite Grey Faux Leather Jacket or Tan Biker Jacket
Warehouse Firefly Jumper is now sold out but Warehouse Poppy Print Jumper is currently on offer
Boden Biker Skinny Jeans a few sizes left
Wallis Bracelet (old) Wallis Fabric Sparkle Bracelet
Gloves last seasons from Marks & Spencer. Marks & Spencer Leather Gloves
Looking Stylish Footnote
Savvy buying and exerting a little patience can pay dividends and allows you to build a wardrobe that really works for your lifestyle and purse. You don’t have to buy at the start of a season, unless you really want a special item. Take a deep breath, hold out for a while and then you are often rewarded with some great finds at half the price. And the jacket, jumper and jeans will all be worn long past their original season is over without dating.
And all these pieces I’ve collected that make up this particular outfit – some new, some old – all fit seamlessly into my existing wardrobe and can be mixed and matched with other pieces.
A small budget doesn’t have to be limiting. And neither does looking stylish when you’re over 50!
Linking with Not Dressed As Lamb / Trendy And Tidy / ClaireJustine / Confident Twosday / Garay Treasures / Turning Head’s Tuesday / Style Splash / Style Me Wednesday / ColorandGrace / JerseyGirlTexanHeart / Living In Colour / High Latitude Style / Eleganceandmommyhood / A Labour of Life / Curly Crafty Mom / Fashion Should Be Fun / A Pocketful Of Polkadots / Jeans And A Teacup / Nancy’s Fashion Style / Fine Whatever /
A lady after my own heart. Love a good bargain and I have already snapped up a couple this year. Some fabulous items here Jacqui xx
Thanks Laurie, ha, ha, from one bargain loving lady to another!
First, have to say I love your outfit,t he colours and the layers all work so well together!
And yes, I'm a sale shopper too. Being petite I can't always find things that work in the opshops, but I can take advantage of the online sales. Like now, when the autumn/winter stuff in the UK and US is on sale as it's autumn here, perfect time to buy, haha! There are few things I will pay full price for, most of the time I'm happy to wait for a sale when your money goes further. I like waiting until the last few days of sales when the discounts get bigger too 🙂
Hope you have had a relaxing weekend and have a nice start to the week.
Away From The Blue Blog
Thank you Mica, so pleased you like the colours and the layers.
We have the same problem, being petite so I know exactly what you mean. Money going further is what I'm after too!
I'm all about discounts and not paying tons for clothing, Jacqueline!!
I've been doing that for so long, that it almost feels "wrong" to pay full price! Although I do enjoy looking!!
We're on the same wavelength Jodie! I know, it feels very weird when I do end up paying full price for something!
Thats fantastic! In two weeks I Will be staying in the UK for a short Holiday and then I will ,,thrift,, for the first time! And I already chosen the store to do it!
How exciting that you are coming to the UK. Look forward to seeing your thrifted finds!
Great post, and so relate-able. You look fabulous head to toe in your smart-shopping pieces! Who are those people who pay full price? : >
Thanks for linking, xo
Thanks Patti. I know, who would pay full price????
Well done! I typically shop sales, too. Or I will shop at very affordable retailers, whose full price items aren't so bad!
Thanks for joining On Mondays We Link-Up!
Glass of Glam
Exactly, affordability is key.
I LOVE a bargain too, and sometimes you just have to buy it even if it's not needed, (huh like that happens often – lol) Great to see your fab outfits. x Jacqui
Sometimes it's too good a bargain to miss. I knew I would regret not buying the boots and such quality at that price is hard to resist!
Cute outfit and great post. You demonstrate what I wish others knew — that expressing our individuality when making style-choices is a high form of art. We needn't resort to the conventional choices many make (by shopping at the same mall stores) and we needn't buy expensive couture. All we need is what you have — personal taste. I love the items you select.
Ally, what a beautiful compliment, thank you!
I wish more people were confident enough to express their personal taste rather than just follow the herd.
oh yes, I love a bargain too, and I'm a huge fan of clearance sales, outlets and flea markets!, but not a good thrifter, as I have not many chances to go thrifting in my neck of the Woods!
So lovely outfit, fabulous color combo, and cool mix of textures!, I like your boots and bag and they work so nicely together!. Your jumper is a fab piece too!
You can get some real gems with just a little patience, can't you. So rewarding when you do. I'm really pleased with the jumper as it's so unusual. I fell in love with the print and even though it's black it doesn't feel black, if that makes sense!
I love a good bargain!! T.J. Maxx is my go-to store because I can always find a style I'm looking for at a great price! I love those red/wine colored pants…looks so great with your scarf. Thank you for sharing this tips and this outfit with us at On Mondays We Link-Up!
Trendy & Tidy
I think my husband might ban me from tkmaxx as I always seem to be in there!
I love a good sale and discount! I rarely pay full price either! Your outfit is fabulous, especially those pants!
I love a good bargain too – I rarely pay full price unless it's something I really want and simply can't risk waiting for the sales. I love the colours in this outfit. The coated jeans are fab – such a great berry shade. Thanks for linking up to Style With a Smile 🙂
I like your way of looking at it! I do like my charity shop buys and sale bargains but I do like to buy the odd full price item I love (oh and Ebay items!) The outfit works really well too!xxx
super boots I dont think Im as savvy as you!
What a wonderful post Jacqueline! I'm a bit like you with the mixture of all sorts of purchases making up my wardrobe. There's something so gratifying about buying in the sales isn't there? And as for thrifting, well I'm not bothered that the shop may smell a bit musty as might the clothes. The finds I've come across over the years were all quickly refreshed by a quick cycle in the washing machine. I love the unique finds that charity shops offer too.
But hey, I'm sorry to gabble on. You've done a great job as ever to styling this lovely outfit and giving us a blow by blow account of each piece. I love your passion and comprehensive details for sharing all of this.
Hope you have a brilliant weekend x
I love a good bargain and wouldn't say no to vintage/thrifted pieces BUT I often do not possess the patience (nor fortitude) to hunt these down. I'm a click, add, purchase kind of woman GRIN
I adore that pink coat you wear! I am such a hoarder with my dresses but about 90% are second hand or sales, this is how I justify it hehe xD adore your blog! xx
elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara
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