So … this was a spendy, splurgey, buy-all-the-things kind of month. Basically, a lot of things I’d been waiting to buy for ages just … turned up all at once. I just couldn’t pass them up, you guys. Alright, I have all kinds of excuses reasons, so let’s just get right to it. I bought 10 items for $420 (original retail approx. $1,231), and they are all awesome sauce.

J. Crew Beanstalk print blouse
J. Crew Beanstalk print blouse

I think my favourite consignment store is jacking up its prices on some brands, like J. Crew. I don’t know if their general clientele is finally getting more familiar with J. Crew (and, hence, willing to pay more for it), but me no likey. I probably overpaid for this blouse, but it was one I had lusted after when it was in stores, and missed on clearance, so – justifications, I haz them. Plus, I think it’s going to look cute for work.

I should add that this is the retail not outlet version of this print, and is therefore made out of silk, not polyester; I won’t buy another 100% polyester piece again if I can help it. I may consider rayon (the jersey-feeling kind), but that’s about it. Speaking of which, I bought a cute Pleione blouse on sale at Winners for $23, and it’s made out of rayon and I ain’t mad at it – it wears comfortably.

Amaryllis Pink Wool coat
Amaryllis Pink Wool blend coat

Also at Winners, I picked up this pink wool blend coat (70% wool, 30% polyester). Trust that it looks cuter in person; it actually reminds me a little bit of the pink Carven coats that were all the rage about a year ago. I first admired it when my kids’ godmom wore it to brunch. Now, it is a fact that she looks fantastic in pink, and I’m not quite sure that I pull off the colour as well, but … for $36 (down from $100), I’m willing to take a chance. Plus, the coat is made in Romania, and I feel like that’s some kind of sign.

Ivanka Trump Two Tone Floral Sheath Dress
Ivanka Trump Two Tone Floral Sheath Dress

I was looking through my IG feed at the beginning of the month (trying to figure out if I had worn a particular outfit before), and came across an old Winners changing room photo in which I was trying this Ivanka Trump dress. “Hmm, cute,” I thought to myself. The style is similar to my beloved Joe Fresh sack dress, and it’s a silhouette I like a lot these days, even though it’s not particularly figure-flattering. I decided to take “just a quick look” on eBay to see if the dress might still be found. Well … you know what happens when you take “just a quick look” on eBay – you end up buying something. Or is that just me? Ahem. Luckily, I managed to snag this dress for a good deal (even cheaper than the Winners sale price 4 months ago), and since I had a bit of a US$ balance on my Paypal, I didn’t even have to take the currency exchange hit. Score!

J. Crew Factory pants
J. Crew Factory pants

So, these J. Crew Factory pants look questionable, but hear me out: I really do think that they translate a little more “edgy” and a little less “I gave up on style” in real life. I’m not sure when I became a pants person, but I guess the proof is undeniable. I’ve bought a bazillion pairs of pants in the last 2 months, and I love wearing them. Never saw that coming, right?

Nathalie Lete Hamatreya Skirt
Nathalie Lete Hamatreya Skirt

I’ve been waiting for this skirt to pop up on eBay in my size for almost a year. No joke.

LOFT Tipped Utility Blouse
LOFT Tipped Utility Blouse
LOFT Marisa Windowpane Pants
LOFT Marisa Windowpane Pants

I’d held on to a LOFT gift card for 6 months (since my birthday!), and decided to finally pull the trigger. Part of the reason why I’d held on to the card for so long is that the only LOFT store in town is located in WEM – an inconvenient trek with the kids in tow (and they are almost always in tow). Another part of the reason was that I haven’t been inspired by anything LOFT has put out since the summer … until now. It’s as if they foresaw my current black and white obsession, and decided to send me a gift, or two. I’ve been hankering for a pair of windowpane print pants since last month, and while I had hoped to find a black-on-white colourway, LOFT’s version is nice too. The tipped utility blouse is just too cute to pass up – especially with the collar buttoned up – even if it is 100% polyester (sigh, that resolution lasted all of 2 paragraphs). Together, minus the gift card, these two pieces set me back about $34.

J. Crew Regent Blazer
J. Crew Regent Blazer

True story: I stalked this blazer online for months, waiting for a deep price cut to coincide with a generous discount code … and it never happened. I think I saw it once for around $120, but the only size left was 2. So I basically gave up on it. But then! When I was at WEM to visit the LOFT store, I also stopped in to J. Crew to check out their sales rack, vaguely hoping to find some cute jewelry for work. (Why, I don’t know. I wear, like, the same 2 pairs of earrings every week. Must be that magpie instinct). But I saw something better: this blazer. I knew, instinctively, that it was a store return (because it’s been out of stock for ages) and wasn’t optimistic about the likelihood of it being the right size. Except that it was! And it was marked way down, with an extra 40% off on top of that. As I was trying it on, and admiring its lovely reflection, my husband was, like, “don’t even pretend you’re not getting it.” Well, don’t mind if I do.

Zara Box Pleat Midi Skirt
Zara Box Pleat Midi Skirt (navy not black as pictured)

I know, you guys – I actually bought something for full retail price. I feel like this needs an extra long explanation, and here you go. For months now, one of the must-have items on my shopping list has been a navy skirt. Initially, I was looking for a pencil skirt, because that is the silhouette I used to wear all the time. But, while I still love the look of pencil skirts, the reality is that I don’t find them as comfortable as I used to (even after losing some weight). So when I spotted this fuller silhouette at Zara (in navy), I had to try it on. And I really liked it.

The midi length is trendy right now, but I’m confident that it’s a classic. The material is a cotton-poly blend, which is acceptable; although it has a subtle pattern, and I would have preferred it plain, I can live with it. I still hesitated, a lot, over this purchase – and not even because of the price (I had just received my annual bonus for last year, and was feeling celebratory). Zara is the definition of fast fashion, and I have been trying to move away from that in my purchases for the last few years. It’s probably an arbitrary line in the sand, because I still shop at places like J. Crew and Joe Fresh (who source their wares from many of the same places, I’m sure), but I feel like I need to have it drawn somewhere, you know? Well, I guess I crossed it anyway, this time. The skirt is made in Portugal, which made it seem a little better.

What’s your stance on fast fashion? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Linking up with Franish and the other budgeting bloggers.

22 Comments on What I Bought: March 2015

  1. That is a month of seriously beautiful purchases. I can’t believe you got that gorgeous pink coat for just $36! I find I always want to buy all the things in springtime–it’s the time of year I really let myself enjoy shopping sprees. Maybe because everything is just so pretty, I’m inspired. Can’t wait to see you in the pieces we haven’t seen yet!

    • Well, to be fair, I tend to buy all the things all the time, LOL! But spring is exciting because it means that winter’s end is in sight (I know that makes no sense, but around here, seasons are just notional. We still have snow on the ground :()

      I’m honestly trying to limit my purchases – I feel like a broken record saying that – but I couldn’t resist getting pieces I’d been wanting for a long time. Sigh, the conflict is alive and kicking…

      But thank you, I am very excited about my purchases, and can’t wait to wear them all.

  2. I spent entirely too much this month too. There were just too many good things to pass up! That Zara skirt is gorgeous (and I bet it looks cute with that J.Crew blouse!). I’ve been trying to steer clear of fast fashion stores because I rarely love the time a year later. That said, something as classic as that full skirt isn’t going to end up in a landfill any time soon. There’s your justification. 😉

    • OMG, those monkey earrings are adorable! You had some lovely finds – and very springy!

      (pssst, I do the same with tax returns. My husband and I split up 10% of our return, and I used my half towards one of my long-standing dream bags.)

      Oh, and I did wear the J. Crew blouse and Zara skirt together already – and you are right 😉

  3. Beautiful purchases, and I love vicariously shopping with you. I am a new reader to your blog, and yours has become a fast favorite. I am so happy to see it in my feed!

    • Awww, thank you so much! I love vicarious shopping too, so I totally understand. Welcome to the blog – hope to hear from you again!

  4. Midi skirts are always fashionable!! I’ve had a black one for over a decade (from Casual Corner, does anyone remember that store?) that I’ve worn continuously. It’s the shoes and top that keep it up to date. First it was riding boots, then skinny tall boots, then over the knee, then ankle strap pumps. It’s probably the oldest item in my closet.

    As for fast fashion…I’m trying to avoid purchasing new items, searching eBay, etsy, and consignment first. But it’s hard to stay away from the mall/online mall. I want to minimize and be less ‘into’ my clothes, but I like them!

    • I agree – midi skirts go in and out of “style” every couple of years, which makes them pretty classic. I’m glad I found one that works for my figure and personal style.

      I seem to go through cycles with my shopping. There will be months when I buy everything secondhand, and then months (like this one) when I buy a lot in stores. I want to get to a point where the “made in” tag (and the quality) overrules all other considerations, but I’m not above beyond seduced by a cute piece of polyester, sigh. Not yet.

  5. I’ve had the “take a quick look on Ebay for this specific item and look, it’s available” kind of luck before too, with a necklace I bought in February.

    I also try more or less to avoid 100% polyester. I don’t find polyester particularly uncomfortable, but I spend a lot of time dressing business casual in the summer, and polyester is not so great for hot and humid NYC weather, especially when one is going in and out of the subway.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the fast fashion thing, and I agree that most of the lines one could draw are arbitrary. It is really hard to know where and in what type of factory clothes are being made. (One of the major takeaways from the books I’ve read on the subject was that various department store brands produce in the same factories and places as Forever 21, H&M, etc.) I imagine that brands across almost all price spectrums overlap a lot in terms of where they produce.

    • Totally agree that there isn’t nearly enough transparency in the fashion/retail industry about where our products come from. I do feel guilty about not doing more research into the practices of my favourite retailers, but seriously – who has the time? I know the answer is to shop less, and more selectively, but it’s sometimes hard to reconcile what I know and what I want. Wah wah! I definitely need to think more about figuring out a workable solution for me …

  6. Can’t wait to see the LOFT finds in action! Great haul this month. I did giggle at “Zara is the definition of high fashion”, I know you meant “fast” as in your last paragraph.

  7. I think that it’s great that you found that silk J Crew blouse, I love moments like that..when you find something that you had not wanted to let go of

  8. I love all your bargain finds, but that blazer is definitely a story of fashion fate! (destiny? ah, you know what I mean!)

    Can I ask how you care for your silk items? I hate the dry clean only labels that are attached to them and wish there was an alternative to cleaning silk.

    • It really depends on the silk. I’m not an expert, so please take this with a grain of salt (or, err, caution), but I often hand-wash silk stuff, especially tops and blouses. Air dry flat. I’m usually comfortable taking the risk because I rarely pay very much for my individual items (like, $40 is the most I usually spend on tops, and it’s usually much less) … if they end up ruined, it’s not the end of the world. But I haven’t run into problems so far, knock on wood. For work and fancy dresses, I go the dry cleaning route most of the time. Most of my dresses are not silk though.

      Another thing is that I don’t wash most of my items after each wear. This is, obviously, a mileage may vary situation; I find that I don’t sweat a lot, and that helps. Hey, it’s one upside of living in quasi-Siberia 😉

      • Thanks for responding, I just wanted back up on my future silk purchases, ha! And definitely won’t hold you to it if I screw up on the washing bit. 😉

        • Honestly, I really prefer cotton (or cotton blends, or rayon even) for most of my clothes, because they’re the easiest to care for. Machine or hand-wash, and done. I’ll make an exception for blazers and some skirts and dresses, but that’s about it.

  9. There’s something about spring that makes me want to buy all the things too. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of sweaters and coats? I don’t know – but I did do some shopping this month! I picked up a cute windowpane patterned dress from LOFT with the discount card I got from your swap – so thanks! I can’t wait to wear it!

  10. When I first started teaching, I stockpiled pencil skirts like it was my job. Now I pretty much only wear pencil skirts if they’re ponte. The full skirt is my favorite purchase of yours this month, but the blazer is all sorts of awesome!