Friday, March 15, 2013

What's the Difference?

We all know someone who spends a great deal of money on their clothes but rarely looks polished. Why is it that some women can pull things from the 50% off rack and look like a million dollars in them? 

My theory is that when you know what looks good on you and you wear those items in pleasing combinations you will look amazing while you spend most of your time enjoying your life. (Not shopping for more clothes or working to pay for those clothes.)

In our society it isn't acceptable to ask "How much did you pay for that?" but many of you have written to say "I could never afford to dress like you." I want you to know that you can shop at Goodwill and still look fabulous!

The picture above was snapped in my office on an average day during the week. Let's put taboos aside and talk about prices for a moment.

The sweater was about $21 at Stein Mart. I picked up the tank top there too. I think it was about $10. The pants are a tweed like material by Anne Klein. I found those for about $24 at Ross Dress for Less.

This navy blazer is possibly the most expensive thing ever in my closet. It's by Austin Reed (sadly the company has gone out of business now). The color, the fit, and the classic lines made it a great choice to wear with slim fitting slacks, especially jeans. It was an investment but I've been wearing it for more than seven years so it has earned its keep. When you find the perfect garment and you know you will be wearing it for the rest of your life spend the money to get the best you can find. All of the other items were found at T.J. Maxx or Talbots at the end of the season. I rarely ever buy anything at full price. Having grown up in retail I know to wait for a few weeks. It will be on sale or it just wasn't  meant to be mine.

This blouse was about $25 on the final end of season clearance rack at Chico's and the pants were found on a sale rack at Stein Mart for about $19 last year.

This jacket was purchased from a sale rack at Stein Mart. I also had a coupon that took 50% more off of the sale price. It cost me about $19! The tank top was from the same shopping day and it was about $3.50. The pants are from the end of season sale at Talbots.The Tahari handbag is from T.J. Maxx.

This is another jacket purchased from the Stein Mart haul mentioned above. The jacket and tank top were from the Red Dot Clearance rack. With my coupon, the jacket was $17.49 and the tank top was $3.47! The black knit pencil skirt is old from T.J. Maxx ($16.99).

How do you know what to buy? 
There are several considerations that come into play when I walk up to a sale rack. The first thing that gets my attention is color.

Cool summer colors work best with my coloring. Solid colors can be worn more often and in more combinations than prints which can be quite memorable. After I find a color I like, the next thing to consider is the fabric. How does it flow across my hand? Is it soft and supple? If the item is made of acrylic or acetate I will leave it on the rack.Those man-made fabrics are often stiff and scratchy. Worn looking pills and sagging seams occur almost on the first wearing. Some polyester and rayon can be very elegant with beautiful movement and drape. Those and any natural fabrics always get my attention. 

Timeless details and simple lines are high on my list of requirements. The way the garment fits my body type is more important than the number on the size label.

The purpose of this blog is to show you how to look your best no matter what your budget is. I will continue to share style tips and best practices for certain body types. I hope to inspire you to look your best every day so that you can have more confidence while you spend your time doing whatever it is that you love to do.

Have a fabulous weekend! 
Thank you for reading my blog. 


Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

You look fabulous in all of these pictures, Susan. This is exactly why I started help others with information I had learned about what works and what doesn't. I developed my FOUNDATIONAL FIVE questions...a page on my help other women. If they follow some of your guidelines and try the five questions, it will help them immensely. It takes practice and time spent in the dressing room. Not a speed sport. You look amazing!

Sheryl said...

This was an exceptional blog write-up today, Susan! Your advice is right on target, and I appreciated the "great look for a great price" examples you shared. I heartily agree that classic styles are timeless and that nice quality items can be found at bargain prices if you watch for the end-of-season sales or special deals. (As an aside, it appears we browse the racks at similar stores, which brought a smile.) Thanks for your interesting blog, and for sharing your fashion and style tips with us.

Myrina said...

From all your pictures and outfits I like that with the hound tooth jacket and red accents!. Thank you for being tireless in giving us useful advice .

Kathleen said...

Wonderful advice! I love that your wardrobe is timeless and classic.

Cate said...

While shopping today I was reminded of your comments about avoiding prints. I'm vacationing in Florida right now and drawn to those colourful patterned tanks and shirts but they are so wrong for me. Solid colours are best. Thanks for keeping me in line. Catherine

Jill said...

You look gorgeous. Great post! Have a great weekend. XO, Jill

mel said...

All I know is that I am going to Steinmart!!

Karen Aidi said...

Those are really great tips, Susan! I love the houndstooth jacket. I have the bad habit of picking up too many tops with a pattern instead of a solid color. Your formula makes a lot of sense. What a great shopper you are, too.

katty said...

Loved the post today! You always look polished, but to actually know the process behind the beautiful image is incredibly helpful for someone that struggles with trying to get that polished-yet comfy-and-practical look. I'll look forward to more tips!

Anonymous said...

Do you think being a size 4 helps you find sale items. I am a UK size 12 (USA 8)and there never seem to be any good bargains in that size.

the good enough mother said...

I have been enjoying your blog for several weeks now.
I had a question about colors. Have you found that the colors that flatter change as we get older? Years ago I was told I was a winter. Now that I am older with gray hair, I find the winter colors wash me out. What is your experience?

Susan said...

There is about equal competition among the smaller sizes. The average size in the US is now a 14 so there might be less to choose from in the 12, 14, 16 size range when it comes to sale racks.

Susan said...

If you find that the winter colors you wore when you were younger are too vibrant for you, choose lower value colors now but in the same tones. Perhaps dusty colors will suite you better.

Patti @ NotDeadYet Style said...

Great post, Susan. It was inspiring to see that your elegant outfits are affordable. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and openness with Visible Monday!