To go with this week’s other post on thrifting tips, I decided to deconstruct a few more outfits for your viewing pleasure. Ready to guess some prices? To make things easier (or not), I will tell you the brands upfront.

Outfit #1
Abercrombie & Fitch jeans; See by Chloe top; Joe Fresh coat; 
Stuart Weitzman shoes

Here’s a confession: I have never paid more than $60 for a pair of jeans. True, I have also never owned a pair of True Religions, Rock & Republic, or other high end denim. [Until recently. More on that next week.] Can’t say I’ve ever felt like I was missing out. This pair of skinnies I bought after I gave birth to my son last summer, and couldn’t fit into my old Gap pair anymore. The label says Abercrombie & Fitch, but I bought them at consignment. I have worn them everywhere. I wore them almost exclusively for most of last fall and winter, and they’re still holding up pretty well. They’re comfortable, they’re a dark enough wash to feel a bit dressy if necessary, and I only spent $34 on them. I guess what all that is meant to convey is … that you don’t need to spend $100+ on a pair of jeans that will be flattering, versatile and long-wearing.

The shoes are pretty cool, no? The colour provides a great pop of colour for a lot of different outfits, and they’ve shown up on this blog more than a few times. I love Stuart Weitzman shoes. Love them! I love them so much that I did once spend $300 of my own money buying two pairs of his shoes – on sale. They usually run $300+ for a pair, which – no matter how cute and comfy the shoe – is a good chunk of change. Looks aside, it’s debatable whether $300+ shoes are more comfortable than a $100 pair (although I have heard good things about Miu Mius), so I don’t think they’re worth the additional moolah. Can you guess how much I paid for this pair? $39 plus GST. Granted, this was probably a once-in-a-lifetime kind of sale – trust me, I’ve been stalking Mayfair Shoes every year since then, and no such luck again – but it does happen. My go-to brand for affordable quality – especially if you wait for sales – is Nine West; a good pair of office pumps can run as low as $30 brand new, or less if you’re willing to go second-hand.

The jacket is from Joe Fresh, via consignment store. It cost me $15, which is probably not far off the original price. I have lost count of the number of compliments I’ve gotten on this jacket; a male co-worker went so far as to comment that it looked “expensive”, which I thought was rather funny. The lesson: certain fabrics and prints can look expensive no matter what the price tag (or the label) says. If you keep mum, no one will know the difference.

The top is also a consignment find – a silk See by Chloe camisole that ran me a whopping $12, about a tenth of the original retail price. I love the delicate print, but there is no way I would pay full price for it, simply for the label. It wouldn’t be worth it, considering plenty of silk tops can be found in the $30-40 range at places like Winners. The price I paid, though, was a bargain no matter how you look at it.

The total cost of this outfit: $100. About what the jeans, alone, would have cost at full retail price.

Outfit # 2
MICHAEL Michael Kors jeans; Tory Burch top; Taryn Rose shoes;
Gucci sunglasses

I will start with the shoes, because they are the most expensive item here. Taryn Rose is a not-so-well known brand around these parts, and hard to find as well, but it’s a gem. Their shoes are stylish, super comfortable, and high quality. They are also pricey. The pair I own – super soft and flexible patent leather in a gorgeous tortoiseshell finish – were originally around the $100 mark at Winners (if I recall correctly). I stalked them for a long time, before finally snatching them up, on clearance, for $55. A lot of money for a pair of flats, but these ones are so worth it. I have literally walked miles in them at a time, with nary a blister in sight, and they are still in amazing shape after years of use.

The jeans are nothing out of the ordinary, apart from the fact that the fit is great. The label doesn’t hurt, but it wouldn’t be worth any extra money on top of the $25 I spent on them. If there is a theme to this post, it’s that good jeans don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

I have to say that I have admired Tory Burch pieces many times on my occasional trips to Holt Renfrew (OK, not so occasional, but in my defence, it’s literally a few hundred meters from my work office tower – practically unavoidable), but have never brought myself to spend the hundreds of dollars it would cost for me to buy an item at regular, or even sale, price. Lucky, then, that I ran into this silk tunic-style top at consignment. As I previously wrote on this blog, since the top was not exactly my size at the time, I tried hard to convince family and friends to buy it, both for its lovely print and the great price. For various reasons, no one did, and I finally decided to “adopt” it when it went on sale. As it happens, it now fits better than ever, and I am still crazy about how it looks – it’s perfect for a summer afternoon stroll or drinks on a patio. Cost? $25. 

Finally, the sunglasses are retro-looking Gucci. I don’t believe in paying a lot of money for sunglasses because, after a certain price point ($50-ish), there is no appreciable difference in terms of UV protection; looks-wise, cute sunglasses are easy to find at all price points. [The caveat is that I wear contacts, so I don’t need prescription lenses for my sunglasses.] Having said that, it’s not impossible to get designer sunglasses for a great price; Winners, in particular, has amazing clearance sales from time to time. This pair ended up being a gift, but they had been marked down to $12 when I picked them out.

Total cost of this outfit: $117. About half of the original retail price of the top.

So, how did you do? Were your guesses in the right ballpark?

3 Comments on Frugal style: Deconstructing the outfit

  1. I have loved the Tory Burch top since you first blogged about! Nice to see it again. I’m really enjoy your articles on consignment shopping. I think it may be time for another Vespucci party.

  2. I second that – another Vespucci party is needed! I get so many compliments on my little purple Nine West shoes that I bought at the last one: I’m hoping luck will strike again!

    I’m with you on jeans as well – I don’t spend over $50 on my jeans. In fact, my last two pairs were $10 and $7, respectively, on sale from Joe Fresh.

  3. Well, ladies, I am thinking about doing another Vespucci shopping party sometime at the end of August/beginning of September … if there is enough interest.