This month was very successful, shopping wise. Perhaps too successful.

Most importantly, I finally found pants! Yay! And not just any pants … I found the Holy Grail of dress pants: 100% wool, fully lined, perfectly tailored. I usually buy my dress pants at Banana Republic Factory Outlet because I like their fit, and they go on sale fairly often; the downside is that they’re pretty basic and the quality is not thaaaat great. So I was thrilled to find an alternative; these Dana Buchman pants were a real steal too; I googled around a bit, and the original price tag would have been $180, but I got them for $20. Nearly 90% off is the kind of deal I can always co-sign.

Continuing the pants theme, I also found a couple of pairs of jeans at Value Village. OK, I didn’t really need them, but they were both so comfy, I couldn’t resist. First, a pair of Paige boot cut jeans that, sadly, were hemmed a bit too short for me, even in flats. I decided they would make a great pair of cropped jeans; luckily my grandmother is a whiz with small tailoring jobs. 

They ended up being a little bit more flared that I like for a cropped pant, so they will be my “scrubby” summer jeans. Considering that I got them for $5.99 (original retail around $190), I don’t feel too bad about making that call.
I also found a pair of iT jeans, which is my favourite brand of denim. I have yet to find a pair that doesn’t fit like a dream. This pair (Twiggy model) is a relaxed/boyfriend straight cut, perfect for casual weekends. They will be replacing my old pair of straight-cut jeans from the Gap, which no longer fits due to, ahem, my “mommy hips” situation. Again, I had to hem them a bit for I could wear them with flats. iT jeans sell for around $90 at retail, but this pair only set me back $5.99.
I also found a couple of dresses at Value Village. This navy, retro-style Isaac Mizrahi for Target dress has a cool neckline; I also loved the fullness of the skirt. Again, this needed a bit of attention from my grandmother, as its original zipper was busted. [As an aside, I really regret not learning basic tailoring skills from my grandmother when I was younger; it’s a bit of lost art these days, which is a shame.] The price was $16.99 – a bit high, in my opinion, but something I’ve come to expect from Value Village these days. 
My other pick was a beige dress from The Limited, also $16.99. Like the Mizrahi dress, this one was also missing its belt – not a problem for yours truly. It looks fab with my yellow belt, dontcha think? The dress is made from (organic!) cotton, so it’s very light and comfortable for summer … plus, it has pockets!!
After buying the four pieces above, I ended up with a “30% off an entire purchase” card from Value Village; the only caveat was that it had to be used before May 12. I couldn’t resist, and back I went. The next 3 pieces came home with me, all for just under $17.

I picked this Gap blouse because of its lovely, delicate print. It reminds me so much of my favourite botanical drawings.

The material is a silk/cotton blend that feels light as air, perfect for summer. It is a looser/blousier style, which can be tricky, but I think it will look great with my skinny jeans. I am also going to experiment with tucking it into my pencil skirts, to see how versatile it might be.

I love polka dots, so I had to have this Joe Fresh skirt. It’s a fuller style than I normally choose in skirts, but the material has a nice weight to it that gives it a good shape. It was about a size or two too big, but this is an easy problem to fix in skirts – no alterations required. I just wear it lower on my hips, and compensate for the extra inch or two in length by wearing really high heels.

And finally, I found yet another pair of straight-cut jeans, this one from paperdenim&cloth. No tailoring required here!
Total: $83. Two months in, I exceeded my budget by $39. Having said that, I got way more things than my original list contemplated. Three dresses, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 skirts, 2 pairs of pants, 2 tops, and 1 pair of shoes – for $159. Not bad.
So, what will be in store for June? Between you and me, I see a few more thrift and consignment trips in my future, so you will definitely get another update at the end of next month. Whether my budget will go further in the red, or not, will remain to be seen.

5 Comments on Back-to-work shopping budget: May

  1. I need some new basic cardigans for back to work. Do you have any favorite brands?? I have tried a few different ones but have never been able to find a really great one…

  2. Robyn, have you looked at Banana Republic? Or JCrew … it’s opening in WEM next week. The main things I always look for, personally, are (1) 3/4 sleeves (I prefer the way they look versus full-length ones); and (2) no band at the bottom, so they hang straight down (if that makes sense).

  3. Are you kidding me?? Isaac Misrahi for Target at Value Village? I *never* find those brands there. That dress is TO DIE FOR! ::dying of jealousy::