Another month, another shopping recap. Since the only things I still really, truly need are work pants (and those damn yellow sandals I’ve been hunting all year), by rights this should be a brief one. No pants, no sandals. The end.


It’s the little things I can’t resist. A good deal here, a good deal there, and before you know it, I’ve bought all the things again. Or, errrm, 15 of them – for a total of $371 (original retail approx. $1,037). Not the scariest number you’ve seen from me, unless you consider I didn’t really need all of these things. But, dammit, they cute.

J Crew V-Neck Peasant Top
J Crew V-Neck Peasant Top

I’ve been eyeing this top for ages, and changed my mind about whether or not to buy it about … oh, a hundred times. When push came to shove it hit the clearance rack, I decided to buy it after all. And I don’t regret it; it’s the perfect summer top. So what if I already have eleventy million peasant tops? Pshaw, reason.

Merona Print Maxi Dress
Merona Print Maxi Dress

So, I mentioned that I wanted a less body-con maxi dress, and this ended up being it. I was reticent about paying full price for it, because in my world $30 is a lot to spend on a dress from Target. Not knocking Target quality or style – this is just a reflection of my consignment-based price set points. I can buy any number of high end designer pieces for that kind of money, so I always seem to have unreasonable expectations when I walk into a retail store these days, Nonetheless, I bought the dress because I wanted it for my road trip to Calgary, and I didn’t want (or have the time) to spend weeks looking for an alternative at my local consignment or thrift stores.

Anthropologie Fei Dreamland Blouse
Anthropologie Fei Dreamland Blouse

Total impulse buy. Floral print addiction strikes again.

L.L. Bean Nautical Skirt
L.L. Bean Nautical Skirt

I’ve had very little luck with thrifting since the Manolo Blahnik score, but this skirt was a nice exception. I’ve been eyeing various anchor-print pieces at J. Crew over the past year, but never pulled the trigger; the piece I liked the most was this skirt from an old, old collection – and this L.L. Bean version was a nice substitute.

J. Crew printed city shorts
J. Crew Factory Printed City Shorts

I toyed with the idea of buying a second pair of shorts for a few weeks after successfully testing the shorts-wearing waters with my Joe Fresh pair from June. I tried a few pairs, but hated every single one. I was just about ready to give up on shorts – again – and then I found this pair. The 5 inch inseam, plus the side zip, plus the thick cotton twill … perfection. I wasn’t crazy about the seahorse print at first (I would have preferred a solid colour), but … eh, it’s growing on me.

J. Crew 5' Chino Shorts
J. Crew 5′ Chino Shorts

… aaaaand then I found a solid colour pair (cognac, not blue as shown). On massive sale. Of course.

J. Crew Schoolboy Blazer
J. Crew Schoolboy Blazer

I was super thrilled to find this schoolboy blazer on the J. Crew clearance rack, because I’ve heard good things about it, and I can always use a black blazer at work.

J. Crew Factory Shirt
J. Crew Factory Shirt

If there is one thing I probably don’t need to buy for the next decade, it’s a button-down shirt. But this was too cute to pass up – the colour combo, and that collar did me in. Also, $10 plus tax.

Gap Hook Belt
Gap Hook Belt

I have been looking for an anchor belt like Fran’s ever since … I saw Fran wearing hers. No luck, but this hook version was a cute second best.

Gap Palm Leaf Print Clutch
Gap Palm Leaf Print Clutch

I was drawn to this print, but I wasn’t sure if it was worth buying at first because I rarely have occasions to use a clutch … until my husband pointed out it was the perfect size to serve as an iPad mini sleeve. Which we happened to need. A double duty piece? Bonus.

Target Xhiliration Palm Leaf Print Bikini
Target Xhiliration Palm Leaf Print Bikini

Speaking of palm leaf prints, how cute is this bikini? I don’t have a pressing need for one, but we’ve been toying with the idea of taking the kids to Mexico next winter for a family vacation, so this is me being proactive. I had to get it, not only because of the print, but because the bottoms have side ties – my preferred swimsuit style, though often difficult to find. While you do get a bit more exposure than with a boy short, for example, the ties are more hip-forgiving and you run less risk of things, um, bulging over or about. The bikini top is also pretty cute, plus it offers decent support.

Winners "X" ring
Winners “X” ring

I have been looking for a ring like this for simply ages. I adore its minimalist, architectural look. I recently saw a similar one pop up on Baublebar but, while the ring itself was inexpensive, shipping and customs fees made it a pricey proposition. I was still mulling my options when I randomly came across this version at a Winners in Calgary. And it was the right size – a minor miracle considering Winners stores usually carry one-offs and they’re generally 2 sizes too big for my fingers. With that kind of shopping kismet at play, I had to buy it, even though it was definitely on the splurgey side.

J. Crew Collection Lace Dress
J. Crew Collection Lace Dress

Bargain price goggles strike again. I just couldn’t resist getting a $400 dress – new with original tags on – for $35. The colour is so-so on me, but it’s a nice dress to have for more formal events, like my daughter’s christening. Also, my friend totally talked me into buying it. Not my fault, you guys!

Ports 1961 Plaid Skirt
Ports 1961 Plaid Skirt

Speaking of long sought-after things, a plaid skirt has been on my buy list since last year. I was initially eyeing one of those 70s pleated affairs, but when I saw this 80s number, I thought “eh, why not”. It’s probably for the better – less mumsy this way.

Katherine Barclay shirt dress
Katherine Barclay Shirt Dress

Confession time: I almost never buy things at boutiques (other than consignment stores). I know I should support local small businesses more, but my budget is all, like, “nope”. So it was a rare occasion that I stepped foot into Avenue Clothing on Whyte Ave., and a nice coincidence that I did so while they were having a big sale. This incredibly loud print just spoke (yelled) at me from the clearance rack, and wouldn’t you know it – the last size turned out to fit me. Perfectly. Fifty bucks (plus tax) is a little bit more than I’d normally spend on a cotton dress, but this one was so pretty and office-appropriate, and I just happened to have exactly that amount in my purse after selling a bunch of things, and … well, you know how this story ends.

(Side note: I do feel guilty about continuing to feed the fast fashion industry, instead of shopping exclusively locally or US-made – even though I can’t even hide behind the excuse of ignorance of the consequences – but it’s proving to be a hard habit to break. I try to compensate by shopping secondhand as much as possible. I know it’s a distant second best, and I’m conflicted about it. And about my evident apathy to do more. Being a responsible consumer is hard, y’all. Sorry to derail the convo – I really should devote a separate post to this one of these days.)

OK, clearly, this month I bought pretty much everything. Was there anything I liked but didn’t get? Yes. Believe it or not, yes.

Liberty Arts floral dress
Liberty Art Fabrics Dress

I love Liberty prints, and I really want to own one of their pieces, but this wasn’t it. The dress was at least a size too big, and I wasn’t crazy enough about the print to deal with significant alterations. I got my mom to try it on as well, but she wasn’t a fan of the neckline on her.

RACHEL Rachel Roy floral ruched dress
RACHEL Rachel Roy Dress

You know how much I heart Rachel Roy dresses, so I was kinda bummed out this one didn’t work. It just didn’t look quite right on me.* Bonus points, though, for including that little extra material in the cleavage area – I wish more designers would do that for these plunging-neckline type dresses. For anyone interested in possibly stalking this dress on eBay, I am wearing an XL here (same with my sari dress), so definitely size up.

{*Note: I talked my friend into buying this dress, and she looks fantastic in it. Just call me the clothes matchmaker.}

J. Crew floral grey t shirt
J. Crew T-Shirt

Cute tee, but I was only “meh” about it. This is what a depressed floral print looks like. No, thanks. I am wearing an XS, by the way, because LOL J. Crew sizing.

DVF green brown silk blouse
Diane von Furstenberg Silk Blouse

Weird cut. I liked the colours.

Kooba tan chain strap shoulder bag
Kooba Bag

So. Much. Restraint. Passing up a gorgeous, leather bag for $35? Yeah, that never happens when your name is Adina. Except this one time.

J. Crew Pilar Sandals
J. Crew Pilar Sandals

This is what sadness looks like. These adorable, sparkly sandals were juuuuust ever so slightly too small. Like, I asked my mom – twice – if I could maybe, possibly get away with wearing them without looking like I stole a kid’s shoes. She said no. Both times. These were only $15 on the clearance rack of my fave consignment store, and brand new, and … waaaaaaah!

J. Crew Martina and Etta Pumps
J. Crew Martina and Etta Pumps

More half-size-too-small shoes. Honestly, I can imagine how Cinderella’s ugly stepsister felt. Screw Prince Charming. I wanted both of these so, so badly.

That’s a wrap, you guys. I’m linking up again with Fran and the other budgeting bloggers, so feel free to click over for more shopping voyeurism. And then tell me what you’ve spent your dollars on this month.

25 Comments on What I Bought: July

  1. I have that buggy! Mum’s friend donated it to me as she doesn’t run with it but I’d been hankering for one for ages. She’s from the US & her Dad sent it over to the UK. No idea what it’s called but two cup holders! Lightweight! iPod Dock! Winner 🙂

    Might have to google the Canadian dollar – British pound exchange rate so I know what you spent. I’m nosey & dollars mean nothing to me!

    • Last I checked, a British Pound was worth nearly CDN$2. Probably more like 1.876 or something random, but you get the gist.
      That buggy is our “medium” stroller. We have a fancy Britax one, but the youngest has almost outgrown it and I find it a bit awkward. I like this one because it’s lighter and easier to get in and out of cars and so on. We got it really cheap (like, $45) at – what else – a kids’ consignment store. I would def recommend it, as we got tons of use out of it, especially on vacations.

  2. You are just damn lucky your consignment shops price items so low!! $30 would be difficult to swing in Toronto for designer anything.

    I also like the idea of maxi dresses but ultimately hate that my legs get wrapped up in the fabric when I walk (I walk like a windmill)… I could handle midi dresses so that I feel less constricted, but maxi? No.. I tried. I failed.

    I have a thing for nautical stripes and anchors too. I have yet to find an anchor-something-or-another…. but really, until I sign a piece of paper saying that I WILL be working, I am refusing to shop or go into shops to be tempted.

    I also really like that belt. I’d be down for an anchor belt.

    I owned a J. Crew schoolboy blazer before I got rid of it, but I found that because of my shoulders, it made me look so wide up top.. still, I liked it better than the Brook’s Brother’s version that looked super shiny.

    As for that Winners X ring, it looks like the Elizabeth and James Windrose ring that I have been eying and promising I will MAYBE BUY if I can get a contract.

    Why didn’t you get that Kooba bag!!? I like it… a lot. Maybe it’s too similar to what you had in your wardrobe?

    • I know, right! Honestly, I found it hard to beat Edmonton prices/shopping anywhere. In Canada, anyway.
      I reeeeaaally love the X ring, and I want to find a real-gold version (with CZs, ideally, or plain gold) because I know this one will eventually start to lose its gold plating. I might have to look at the one you mentioned …
      It’s too bad you live so damn far away … you could’ve gotten that Kooba 😉
      (And the reason why I didn’t is because … errm, I *may* have a few bags already on the way. Ahem.)

  3. First of all, thanks for the link to the most embarrassing post of all time. Well, just the picture that I link to. Someone get me off the internet.

    Second, THAT PLAID SKIRT. I looooovvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeee it. and now I need one. So we can be twins.

    Third….I have no third. Good morning!

    • Oh no! I’m sorry … do you want me to change the link? I tried finding a more recent post with the belt, and I couldn’t. Help?!?
      Yes, yes, yes … plaid skirt twins. Do it!

  4. I see that you took complete advantage of the J Crew and J Crew Factory sales. While $371 is a large number, you got a ton of things for it. I’m impressed with your purchases, you were very savvy. I’m also a little jealous of your boutique dress and the J Crew Factory Peasant Top. I bought that top myself not too long ago, but it just didn’t look right on me. Can’t wait to see you style it

    • I love it! It’s a blousy style, so it’s not the most flattering thing I could wear, but I love it so. J. Crew sales are the bestest.

  5. Where are you finding all of these consignment stores in Edmonton?? I must have gone to the wrong ones, because I only found ugly Lululemon and Aritzia sweaters that were still way expensive. Love that leafy bikini print though, I need to step inside Target more often.

    • LOL! I tend to stick to my faves (My Favourite Aunt’s and Red Pony), and I’ve always had very good luck. Target has a lot of cute things, you just have to look past the polyester. But that applies to pretty much every store 😉

  6. I love that belt and blazer! Such great deals for both pieces. I’d love to get my hands on both. And that plaid skirt will be so great to wear in the fall and winter. Good eye! Everyone is finding the best deals at J.Crew, I picked up a few pieces a few weeks ago including a pair of camel shorts for like $10 bucks myself!

    Ele @

  7. You got some amazing deals! I adore the palm print and printed shorts – too cute! I was so sad when the leaf clutch sold out, but I suppose all the better for my budget, right? Plus, that belt is really cute – I almost never belt, but I wish I did so I could use this one!

    • I actually grabbed the last one in the store, and I dithered over it for a while. It’s a great print, and I’m glad I decided to get it – I’ve even used it as a clutch! And I never wear clutches …

  8. those blue shoes! I never see anything even remotely that amazing at the thrift/consignment shops around here. At least you found some amazing deals at Jcrew and JCF. I keep thinking “this month, I won’t buy all the things!” and then I go ahead and just buy them anyway. But really, August should be a minimal shopping month for me. We’ll see how that goes…

  9. Side-tie swim suit bottoms are so necessary. I refuse to buy any other kind. I love that bikini, but Target does not make swimsuit tops to accommodate my G-cup bustline 🙁

    • That sucks! I think this was the junior line too (Xhiliration), so the sizing was kinda out there. I ended up getting an XL bottom just so I wouldn’t feel, um, exposed … But side ties FTW!

  10. I love the seahorse shorts (what a fun print!) and the Anthropologie blouse (again with the flowers!). And the plaid skirt is great – I’ve been looking for one for myself as well.

    • Plaid skirts are a dime a dozen in thrift stores … but they are usually pretty horrid. This was a lucky find.
      And pssst – those shorts are now, like, $15 or something. Not too late to check them out 😉

      • I’m leaving for holidays in a week! No time for shopping. Although who’s kidding – there’s always time for shopping. Except by the time I get back from vacation, summer will be over and I’ll have no time to wear my shorts.

  11. I like the idea of buying more US made items, and I’m glad you mention it. I own my fair share of “fast fashion”, but I am trying to break out of that. It is tough, especially if you are looking for more that plain tanks and tees. Back in April I bought my first pair of US-made jeans, which were probably the most expensive pair of jeans I’ve ever bought. But I wear them nearly every day, and they are so well made and well fitted that I wouldn’t think twice about buying another pair. And don’t look down on thrifted clothing- that is creating jobs in your local community and keeping items out of landfills as well as many thrift stores support local charities. Win-win-win in my book!

    • Oh, don’t get me wrong – I love thrifting! I just recognize that it’s not a *perfect* solution, since it exists primarily due to the fact that other people over-consume. But I support it, 100%.
      I struggle with the guilt over my shopping habits, particularly the “fast fashion” aspect that makes up a significant chunk of my shopping (whether retail or secondhand). But the habits are hard to break – I like buying lots of pretty new things, and that’s not financially feasible unless we’re talking fast fashion. Anyway, I think it’s an important conversation to have, but I feel like the worst person to promote it because a poster child for ethical shopping I am not.