Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Looking Like a Million Bucks (Without Spending a Million Bucks)

Hello, my name is Sara and I have a dress buying problem. But I don't call it a problem. It's my collection. In my dressing room, I have a clothing rack full of dresses and skirts and that is what makes me happy. I feel great when I look great from head to toe - coordinated accessories included!

Now, before I get too far, I want to clarify some things. I know from reading the above, you probably have one of two reactions. You have either laughed and thought Oh that's so Sara! She's so cute! or you kinda of rolled your eyes and thought ugh how does she afford to buy all of these dresses? Seriously?

It's OK. I know. I know because sometimes I think similar thoughts!

No, I am not about to describe in detail my monthly expenses and income to show you how I do it and where my money goes. I'm a lady, after all!

What I do want to do in this post, however, is talk about building a retro/vintage/pinup wardrobe without breaking the bank - because it is possible! It's not easy and it doesn't all come at once (trust me when I say my wardrobe is a collection gathered over the years) but with some patience, some attention to detail, and knowing a few good spots to always keep on your radar, you can do it, too.

I've been dying to write a post about this but never had the right opportunity. I've had this beautiful dress by Emmy Designs for a couple months now and thought it (along with my new pair of B.A.I.T. shoes that I got on sale) would be the perfect accompaniment to this post. Why? Because even though it's currently "on sale" on the website for over $200 (no lie, that's the sale price!), I didn't pay near that!


Well, let's dive right in, starting with this outfit as our first example.

I scored this dress for under $100 by buying it off a fellow blogger/Instagrammer. She posted on Instagram that she was putting it up for sale lightly used - it had only been worn once or twice. After reading the dress's measurements and noticing the big price difference from the online store and her post, I scooped it up. Sure, it was worn a couple times but if it's been washed and doesn't have stains on it, what's the drawback of buying it off of her? There isn't one!

As for my shoes, they're by famously adorable (but infamously unaffordable) B.A.I.T Footwear. A pair of B.A.I.Ts, depending on style, can cost between $60 and $90.  If you know where to look for them outside of their own website, though, you can easily find them for half that. ModCloth sells B.A.I.T shoes, for example. I snagged the pair on my feet in these pictures on sale for $34.99 from ModCloth - half price from the B.A.I.T website! These shoes usually sell quick on sites like ModCloth but if you keep an eye out and are quick to the sale, you can luck out.

I have also bought similar shoes (in a different color) off a BST group on Facebook (BST - Buy Sell Trade). A seller there simply didn't like the way they fit on her and were selling them for a fraction of the cost on the B.A.I.T website.  I have also sold and/or traded a few items of my own on these groups, allowing me to replace something that no longer fits with something new! You have to be quick in these groups, though, as good finds are usually scooped up very fast.

More on these BST groups! There are so many of them out there for every style imaginable! For me, I am in a few that suit my tastes. For example, ModCloth BST or Pinup Girl Clothing BST. These two groups will be where girls like myself go to buy, sell, or trade items bought on these two websites or items that are similar to the style you find on ModCloth or PUG. Sometimes the sellers want what they bought their items for, but for the most part, it's just gals trying to save money for a new dress by selling other dresses they simply don't wear enough or fit into anymore. Again, if it's clean and not ruined by stains or rips, why not buy used? No one has to know and you get a new (to you) dress!

There has to be some caution when buying items off other people, though. While I love buying lightly used items from other gals like me, you do have to be careful sometimes. You never know if you'll receive what is pictured - my advice is to request photos of the actual item before paying if the seller uses stock imagery on their listing to ensure the quality of the item. After that, just ensure you're being invoiced on PayPal and not sending money via Friends & Family. An actual PayPal invoice includes coverage in the case you never receive your item or something goes wrong. If you're not invoiced, you have no way of getting your money back if your item never shows up.

All that being said, I don't get too many of my dresses and skirts used. Facebook groups and eBay aside (don't forget eBay - you can also score awesome stuff there! I got nearly all my Bernie Dexter collection off eBay for sometimes half of its full price!), I have just gotten very good at finding sales and discounts. Websites like Pinup Girl Clothing and Tatyana have great sales - PUG is known for their Black Friday sale and Tatyana had a killer End of Summer sale this year. That is typically the only time I even consider buying off PUG since their items can be so expensive. Because of that, I only have a few items from them altogether.

I have also become a big fan of websites like Zulily. It's not just for kids! They sell women's clothing as well! Zulily is like Groupon but for clothes - they sell clothes at a discount price for limited times. For example, I snagged a Voodoo Vixen dress off Zulily for just $39! Sound familiar? That's because I blogged about it a couple weeks ago!

I know this has been a lengthy post (what can I say? It's the downfall of being a writer) - and I appreciate you reading this far - but hopefully you got something out of it. Sure, I splurge on clothes. I don't buy a lot of other things "for fun" (well, besides books and new music) and, at the end of the day, everyone has their thing. For Cody, it's guitar pedals and video games for his Xbox One. For my sister, it's Nikes and gym clothes.

So go forth, my child, with these lessons I bestow on you! If you know where to look, when to be quick on your toes, how to make the most of your dollar, and when to expect killer sales, you, too can build a collection like I have. It isn't built in a day but it sure is beautiful to watch as it grows!