Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Thrifty Threads

If there is one thing I take pride in, it's my closet. Over the past several years while blogging about Fun Dollars I have had the opportunity to carefully curate the threads I own. Whether I bought them at Goodwill, inherited them from my sister, took possession at a clothing swap or found them on sale, each item in my closet was given careful consideration before coming home with me. I have had four years of purging clothes that no longer work for me, collecting clothes to fill in the gaps, and "merchandising" my closet on a budget.

My motto for closets is this, "Let your closet be your favorite place to shop". Arrange your clothes like you would if it were a boutique. Put items together to create outfits. You can organize by color or by style. I like to use shopping bags to store smaller items like underwear, socks and delicates. Every time I put my hand into a Victoria's Secret bag and pull out a pair of undies, I feel like I am shopping in my own closet. Save bags from stores that look appealing to you and make your closet look like you just took a shopping trip with your best friend.

I want to start a new chapter of Fun Dollars with the focus being on my fabulously fun threads. I want to showcase what careful closet curation looks like. Since we are not really utilizing the Fun Dollars system right now, I miss writing about Fun Dollars. I feel like a part of me is missing. I also get the most interest from friends about my Fun Dollars blog. So, to satisfy my need to write about Fun Dollars, and to give people what they want, I proudly present My Thrifty Threads.

Now that the weather is starting to warm up, and spring is in full swing, I needed to go through the paces of switching out sleeves for T's. I did all my laundry to see what I actually had in stock. I also unpacked the rest of my boxes from the move just to be sure I had everything. I took a small bag of goods to a clothing swap, and brought home even less (which I consider to be a good thing.) Then I went through everything again to find the gaps in my wardrobe.

I also stared a new job last week, and had a new need to look my best. My days no longer consist of yoga pants and hoodies. I get to actually look presentable for other humans, not just hole up at home doing dishes with Lily. With that in mind, I took myself to Goodwill with a very lean budget: $20.

Yes, with a mere $20 I was determined to fill in the gaps of my warm-weather wardrobe. Whole most people feel the need to drop $50, $100, or $500 on a new wardrobe each season, I find no satisfaction or thrill in this practice. I like spending as little as possible for maximum impact.

I knew I needed some sandals and a non-black cardigan at the very least. Some dress pants wouldn't be bad to have, and possibly a white shirt to wear with my peach-pink linen shorts. (Peach-pink is the color my daughter made up for my shorts. I like it, so I use it.) With three "must-haves" on my list, that didn't leave a lot of extra for glory shopping, so whatever else I chose to bring home had to work on several levels for it to be a "careful curation" of my closet.

At Goodwill, there is a fun little trick I have learned. It's called, "Don't shop all at once" and "If you love it, buy it, because it could be gone tomorrow." I carefully weigh these two seemingly opposing mantras every time I enter a Goodwill store with a mission. When Goodwill receives donations, they use different colored tags for pricing. Then each store rotates the color of tag as their Half-Price Tag. Some days it's blue, other days it's yellow or green, but you never know what color it will be when you enter a store. When I shop at Goodwill, I always look for the Half-Price Tags first, keeping my mission in mind. My usual tactic is to load up on anything that suits my fancy with the Half-Price color on it. Chances are more than half of what I pick out to try on will not work. Sometimes the fit looks strange on me. Sometimes I discover a stain or rip that I didn't see when pulling it off the rack and giving it an initial inspection. So, even though I start out with 10 or 20 items in my cart, I might leave the dressing room with only three items that actually work.

After my first round of dressing room decisions, I go back and look through the items in a different size. Due to the fact that manufacturers have varying size ranges, it pays to go through another size category. A size 2 at Old Navy is a size 5 at American Eagle. Once again, I look first for the Half-Price Tags, and grab anything else that looks like it might work for my list.

After my second round of dressing room decisions, I look at everything I have in my cart that fit, and has no rips or stains. I break things down into two categories: the clothes that are Half-Price, and the clothes that are full-price. Out of the Half Price items, I pull out what I need to check off my list. If I can fill in my wardrobe gaps at a lower cost, I am being smart with my Fun Dollars. Then, based on what is left in the full-price pile, I see what is needed to finish filling in the gaps. When I have as much as I can checked off on my list of what I went in there to buy, I see what is left in my budget. Then I choose from either pile based on that number. Maybe there is a wonderful dress in the full-price pile and a pair of jeans in the Half-Price pile. I weigh what will work best with what I already have V.S. what I will wish I had purchased after I leave. There are times when I have left Goodwill thinking, "Man, I wish I had bought that blouse from Express. It was brand-new with the tags still on." So I think about what my regret might be (if any) and look at what's left in my budget.

After all that serious decision making, I go back through once again and see everything I have chosen. Sometimes I don't get everything on my list checked off. That's OK. It gives me a reason to go back on another day. There will be new items donated and tagged. There will be a new Half-Price color sticker, and a whole new shopping adventure to experience!

Now, this might sound like a lot of work just to pick out a few clothes. Truthfully, I relish the process. I have my mother's penchant for "hunting" for just the right item, and my grandmother's eye for a bargain. It's in my blood. There is nothing exciting to me about walking through a mall, stopping in at a store and having ten of exactly what I want right in front of me for full price. I love saving money, I love hunting for treasures and I love playing the balance game of "Wants V.S. Needs". It's a part of who I am, which is why I am sharing it with you.

So, after two separate trips to Goodwill in the past week, I spent $18.00 of my $20.00 budget. I came back with like-new Jennifer Lopez sandals, a Jones New York blouse, dress pants that fit (not only my waist but also my shorter legs), a chocolate cardigan, a white shirt (for the peach-pink shorts), and some footies to wear with my flats. After going back through my closet and pairing new outfits together, I discovered I have enough clothes for the summer to wear a different outfit everyday to work for and entire month!!!!

So, as I go through each outfit, I am going to post a selfie and explain where each item in my outfit came from. It's a way to celebrate and appreciate Fun Dollars I have already spent and to give some creative perspective to anyone with a closet conundrum. It will be part fashion blog, part Fun Dollars, and 100% Fun! Join me on the journey of My Thrifty Threads.

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