Dec 232014

So, lately I’ve been musing on the question:

why is it so much harder than it used to be to find time for shopping?

If you have thoughts on that, I would love to hear them! In the meantime, I wanted to comment on Rachel Cruze’s video blog Stay Fashionable on a Budget. I love her strategy! Here it is, in a nutshell: She only shops at three cheap stores and three nicer stores and at the nicer stores she only shops sales.

This is not alot different from most of what I have talked about before, just a little more refined. To customize this strategy even further, you could select stores based on your style essence and group your stores in a cluster (aka a shopping loop). (I would add, as an option: three thrift or resale shops, stops that fit easily with your normal routine. For me, Value Village is right around the corner from the gym and the new Goodwill is on the way in/out of the Trader Joe’s parking lot.)

So, since my big weakness seems to be talking about theories and strategies while failing to apply them, I am going to push myself to name my stores.

Three cheap stores, one parking spot:

  • H & M
  • Forever 21 (I may change my mind about that one, based on the MUSIC)
  • JCPenney

Three nicer stores, one parking spot (unfortunately, paid):

  • Nordstrom
  • Ann Taylor
  • the black & white store

Coming up with this list leads me to other questions: should I establish any sort of a schedule? If I do, will I shop less or more? Does it make sense to focus more on one loop than the other depending on what my current wardrobe needs are?

And what would your three (times two) stores be?

  9 Responses to “Stay Fashionable Like Dave Ramsey’s Daughter Does”

  1. I get a lot out of clothes but I intensely dislike shopping. There is way too much sameness in stores for me – versions of same styles in same palette. I, also, don’t like the music. I have to will myself to ignore it as I don’t think in that rhythm. And that applies to mellow music, as well. And if you go into Abercrombies, you need a miner’s headlamp.

    We do have a Nordstrom’s that opened nearby a couple years ago. I have been once and walked through another time. There is nothing there I want. I do understand about their legendary good service. On You Look Fab people participate heavily in all of the Nordstrom’s famous sales and while they surely do look nice in what they’ve chosen, none of it is for me. I recently went through the downtown Philadelphia main branch of Macy’s. Every department – petite, plus, less expensive, more expensive – all had practically identical stuff. That’s really nice if you’re one of the folks who wants that exact stuff, so now you can find it.

    I’m an outlier in most things. Maybe comes from growing up amongst immigrants. When I was a young woman that same Macy’s was then the flagship Wanamaker’s store – it was one of the old fashioned department stores that had everything from some couture to toys to furniture to the tea room (restaurant) at the top level. Suburban branches used to send over their unsold merchandise and I regularly visited and found wonderful things in their basement – beautiful brushed plaid wool and mohair coat from England, etc. Current Macy’s doesn’t have such a basement.

    One thing I notice from shopping thrift is that if I find something I really like and would be willing to pay for it retail, the current store offerings, even if only a few years out, are nothing like it. I love the idea of how men are traditionally able to shop for clothing – they just replace with an identical but new item. But even there, the quality is not always the same. Daily Prep did a feature showing how Bean’s garments were shrinking up to 4 inches.

    I don’t shop in consignment stores because I can usually turn up something interesting to wear no matter where I go so why not go where it’s the most economical? I don’t do yard sales because people tend to overvalue their intended castoffs. Some of my best fitting pants came from Penneys, as well as a cotton sateen leopard print skirt that is a staple for me. But I heard that they have gone from being known as “quality nazis” – where they were very tough on suppliers to come up to their specifications – to having less quality control. The last thing I got from them was simple tank shell top online and it was all out of true. I know Zara’s incredibly popular for their stylishness but I’ve only been in one once and actively disliked every single thing I saw. I know they have fast turnover but wasn’t inclined to give them another chance.

    1. tiny church thrift store with a small stock of clothing. Open twice a week for 3 hours and I tend to go only on Friday morning. I spend about an hour. I try on everything I am considering or sometimes just for the experience of testing out the style or color. Most of their coats are five dollars unless special. I got a full length sheepskin French Creek coat for ten bucks – if you look online at their store, they are well over $2000.

    2. 2d church thrift store, with even worse lighting if that is possible, and also a small stock of clothing.
    A few times a year they have bag sales where whatever you can stuff into a grocery bag is $2 per bag.
    Coats and accessories are excepted. Those sale days are a nightmare. If you bend down to slip on a pair of shoes, you are then so hemmed in that you can’t get up again! They keep most of their shoes underneath the tables that hold folded tops. This store in particular is open only twice a month for a few hours in the morning and they take weeks off around major holidays and close for the entire summer.
    I got a nice taupe alpaca knit pencil skirted suit from Peruvian Connection for two dollars. It’s actually very sensual if you could think to say that about such a garment. 😀 I got blonde color Frye knee high boots – not too lumberjack, not too engineer – for fifty cents.

    3. Because it’s a convenient walk from the #2 store and also open just on Saturdays, a third church thrift store where they’re quirky about prices and can charge too much but once in a while I can find something of good quality there.

    4. One particular branch of Goodwill that is smaller than many others but just works for me. They are more expensive than the church thrifts – and have just raised their prices. Their half price on certain ticket colors sales never seem to work for me but I do get a senior discount if I go on Tuesdays. I don’t go often, maybe a few times a year. We were desperate for some new dining room chairs because we had a mid century modern dinette set with the matching chairs – which I got for forty dollars from a church thrift my friend used to volunteer at and saw in a shop this summer for $900 – I laughed. Little by little I had gotten rid of the chairs as they would not stand up to hard usage and our son gets regular infusions by home nurses of clotting factor for hemophilia. The last chair went and my husband and I rushed out to find any chairs that would do. A dark green tiled farmhouse table and 4 captains chairs had just come off the truck at Goodwill and we bought it the whole shebang for a hundred dollars and were glad to do so.
    My husband needed a suit for wedding this summer and he hates thrifts stores. We tried a few and I had him try this one Goodwill. He found a subdued wool menswear plaid ( wedding was not overly formal) from Burberry’s in his exact size and with my discount card it came to about $14-16 dollars. You know what this would cost from Burberry’s.

    So why would I shop retail? 😀


    • I do agree with you about the sameness in the stores. It is frustrating!

      Today I am stopping everything to pull together my personal palette. I find myself tempted to shop, especially at thrift stores, when I have not actually thought all the way to what exactly I am shopping for. Hopefully I can organize myself more thoroughly; then we will see whether I like Rachel Cruze’s system or not. 🙂

      • Have you seen Imogen’s series on two kinds of contrast? One is your level of lightness and darkness – hair, eyes, skin – and the other is your level of colorfulness.

        And Into Mind has something interesting here about choosing a palette – all this feels intellectually beyond me but I like to gawk at it, anyway. 😀

        And this is droll:

        Since I colored my hair back to its natural red color (strawberry blond), I’ve gotten rid of most grey. They used to look luminous but no longer look special. I’ve also stopped buying anything in black. I remember about 15 years ago when I realized I had almost nothing in black. I’m changing my look and finding the messaging of black harder to wear. Someone whose blog I read wrote that she didn’t want the same black leather jacket everybody is supposed to want because on her it looks like (genteelly paraphrasing) a tough cookie.
        That hit it on the head for me. I’m not feeling that toughness. Don’t quite know how to create more gentle outfits utilizing the black I have. Leaning to over a printed frock.

        I’ve been trying to add more color as well. My winter closet can start too look awfully somber. Have been slowly adding some mid blues and greens. I wear a lot of shades of brown and I like it with blues. Some Eileen Fisher has been showing up at the thrift store. I would not have said I was an EF gal but the mid blue thin short sweater that fits like a coat of paint pleases me. 😀

        In thinking about coat of paint or how to wear black, I hit upon the idea of a black cat, which despite all superstitions doesn’t look tough. Sleek. Maybe some of my new style words are Fat Sleekness.

        Which brings me to fit. I tried something I had with a red boiled wool blazer and I loved how the blazer fit. Something I already owned. I started thinking about how a slightly stretchy unlined jacket is far more appealing to me than a more constructed jacket with lining and non nonsense tailoring that feels like it fights me. It’s not that it doesn’t fit or fits improperly, it just seems to have a life of its own that doesn’t need me. Of course, I have about exactly as many unlined jackets or sweater jackets as I do lined jackets. Just noodling this around. Not ready for a major purge. 😀 And of course in hot, humid summers the last thing I would want is a body-conforming jacket and not a lined jacket, either.

        • Imogen’s series on contrast came at the perfect time for me, and finally all that stuff makes sense! I really have alot of work to do! I also have been working on the color component of my training, starting with just pulling a bunch of pictures of landscapes and different things that I really love the looks of. Yesterday I pulled apart all sixteen of my precoordinated color palettes to assemble a 10 stick set that coordinated with the pictures AND with the colors I know work for me. It took all afternoon!

          I am letting it simmer on the back burner for a couple days while I decide if I got it right,mat least right enough for the time being. I actually did two versions. What is most interesting is that they each had no more than two sticks from any one of the palettes, and only two for two of them. In other words, I pulled colors from seven different palettes (I think that is right). When I got done, I thought “there must be an easier way!” And then I thought of one, which I may try after the holiday.

          It is definitely giving me ideas about what to wear AND what to shop for. But I have so much more work to do!

          Now to go read those other articles! Thanks so much! 🙂

          • Ok, thanks Vildy! That Into-Mind is awesome! I like to think I would have gotten there on my own eventually, but that is super helpful! The 9 color palette doesn’t immediately jump to mind, but I think I can get there. Hmmm. Puts me in the mind of how that might intersect with the 8 Zyla colors.

  2. Vildy – I’m so jealous of your finds!

    I was actually thinking this week that I needed to develop a regular set of stores that try to frequent them. I don’t seem to have room in my schedule to make routine stops anywhere… But I love the idea that frequenting a few stores on a regular basis is a good way to know what’s out there and find the bargains I want. (Especially thrift stores).

    I’m also trying to find a few retail stores whose things generally fit and flatter me. I haven’t come up with them yet, but I do expect they exist 🙂

    • Rachel Cruze has Target on her list. Their clothes don’t usually fit me, but I think you said they do fit you. I also think Kohls would be a good option; for me, they are not close to any of the other places. If I decide to do another or a different loop, I will probably try to include them. Love to hear what you come up with! 🙂

  3. I still can’t pin down “style essence” but here’s a fascinating blog I’ve been studying. There’s two areas.
    One is the website, which may contain the rationale but I haven’t read closely yet and the other is the blog, which I have. She has maybe 15 types of what I’ll call Look. Gamine – True, Refined, Elaborate for example. And the same for Classic, Dramatic, Romantic and Natural. She illustrates each of these with a fashion photo – sometimes half a dozen – and defines 4 separate points of difference. Focus (which point or points on the body is featured), Line – mostly broken into fitted and free silhouette but also including what kinds of lines, straight or curved, horizontal and/or verticals, and how long the lines might be. Fabric – what is the weight, the texture or smoothness, prints and/or solids, etc.

    I’m very interested in this because I’ve been involved in trying to figure out what weight of fabric I want for tops and/or bottoms. For example, I currently have my only 2 pair of denim jeans in a pass along bag.
    The last time I wore a pair, I wasn’t happy with the feel of it. I’m not a huge jeans fan anyway and had mostly kept them as a kind of quickchange to Belongingness 😀 and also to answer that eternal shopping question of What Can I Wear With This? See, it’s so easy to always say : If all else fails and I can’t find the right outfit for it, it’ll always go with jeans. Such a mental copout. Anyway, I’ve got to wondering whether I’m happiest in thinner slightly fluid fabric and the thicker jeans get – every white pair I’ve ever tried on and rejected – the more I hate them and refuse to buy them and/or wear them. I still like the few pair of corduroy pants I have but they’re softer and more “flexible” – bend in a different way than denim.

    • I do think fabric is such a critical part of style essence, and a little bit “under the radar”. I’ve been thinking recently that pants and jeans seem to either get better (as in, fit better and more comfortable) with time and wear, or they shrink and become restrictive.

      I got an email article today that talked about premium denim feeling like pajamas. If that is the case, I have never had premium denim!

      I also saw somewhere recently that light, drapy fabrics are associated to the ethereal style essence.

      Super excited to check that blog out – thx! 🙂

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