Retail or Resale?

One of my goals for 2019 is to increase my awareness about a topic you’ve probably seen in the news recently: fast fashion. Even as “going green” becomes more popular, fashion is one area of our lives where it is often overlooked. We all know about the harm that things like plastic bags and straws can do to the environment; however, we don’t often hear about what discarded clothing and textile factories can do. I’m still researching the topic and what the fashion industry is doing to help remedy this situation (look for a blog post about it in the near future). For now though, I’m sharing one solution that I already know A LOT about: shopping resale.
When my girls were little and money was tight, I found most of my clothes at thrift stores. In fact, a dear friend and I used to make a weekly pilgrimage to a thrift store near the college campus in my hometown. We knew what day of the week they put the new stuff out and would go peruse the castoffs of the rich sorority girls. Now that I am more financially stable and have moved to a larger city, I’ve been fortunate to find some really exciting new resale options. Besides having bigger and better thrift stores, there are some AMAZING vintage stores in my area. And while it’s not technically resale, clothing rental shops are another great way to reduce waste. Companies like Rent the Runway have been around for a while, but there are lots of cool local rental shops popping up, and I always like to support local businesses when I can (more to come on those in a later post)! Currently I am obsessing over resale boutiques such as Clothes Mentor and Buffalo Exchange because they feel like the perfect fit when it comes to shopping. They hit that happy medium between thrift stores and retail. You get a higher quality of merchandise, but you don’t pay anywhere near full retail price! I know some people don’t like the fact that you have to “dig” to find what you want, but for me, that’s half the fun! And it’s not as if you’re blindly rummaging through a bin at a garage sale; all the clothes are hung up neatly in sections such as pants, long sleeve tops, short sleeve tops, sweaters, dresses, tunics, etc. They are further arranged by size and even color. I have rarely left without being able to find what I was looking for (along with a few other items). Resale shops also have a pretty savvy social media presence nowadays, so you can often find a great bargain without even going into the store!People often ask me, “How much can I REALLY save by shopping resale?”. It’s a fair question, so I’d like to share some examples of recent purchases I’ve made at my local Clothes Mentor:
These two Burberry pieces were some of my earliest purchases from Clothes Mentor. The classic Burberry scarf is $430 new on their website and around $100 used on Poshmark. As you can see, I got this one for $18. The skirt is a classic black knee length skirt currently selling for $80-$125 on Poshmark and eBay, but I snagged this one for $20.
The three pieces above are all recent purchases I’ve made in the last two months. The green distressed sweater by Wildfox retailed for $138, but I got it for $14. The hot pink sweater was $89 from Express and $12 from Clothes Mentor. Both sweaters looked and felt like they had never been worn. The one I am most proud of, however, is this GORGEOUS leather jacket by Rag & Bone (I’ve scored a couple pairs of their jeans for around $25 also). I paid less than $70 for this insanely beautiful jacket. It’s selling on Poshmark for $350. Want to know how much it retailed for? $1,035. Yep, you read that correctly…over $1K. That’s basically a 93% discount!
Another really exciting find that the fashion nerd in me went CRAZY over is this NEW pair of Tory Burch high tops. They retailed for over $200, but I got them for $40. To make the deal even sweeter, I later found out that THE style icon Gwen Stefani has the same pair!!! That’s me in the middle pic. 
Now let’s talk everyone’s favorite…high-end designer bags! Clothes Mentor regularly gets in Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, and Prada. I purchased all four of these bags in the last year, and all were $300 or less (note: the Louis Vuittons go for more since they are more popular in this region, but they’re still WAY below retail). All designer bags are authenticated by trained buyers and then double checked by a computer program that provides a certificate of authenticity. They do NOT accept or sell fakes. Besides these luxury brands, they also carry Kate Spade, Coach, Michael Kors, Dooney & Bourke, Frye, and similar designers. I will NEVER pay full price for a designer handbag again!
Besides being good to the environment by reusing clothes, I’m also being extremely good to my bank account. You can see from these few examples that I have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars just in the last year. I also sell many of my own items to them for either cash or store credit which helps me save even more. I highly encourage you to check out local resale shops in your area and see how much YOU can save! Xoxo

A Happy Hygge Home

I'm gonna be honest…this used to be my least favorite time of year. After all the festivity of the holidays, January and February can feel like a major letdown. There are no major holidays and no school vacations to look forward to. Add in the typical cold, gray weather, and it can be the perfect recipe for depression.
Then, in the winter of 2016, I discovered the word “hygge”. You probably did too because it seemed like it was literally EVERYWHERE. In a nutshell, hygge is the Danish practice of embracing warm and cozy traditions to get through the winter months. It can be as simple as making a cup of tea for yourself every evening and wrapping up in your favorite blanket, or it can be as elaborate as a weekly dinner and game night with friends. The point is that you are making a conscious effort to make regular events special in some way. With buzzwords like “coziness”, “warmth”, and “contentment”, I was intrigued. But once I found out that hygge can also be incorporated into your interior decorating, I was sold.
I scoured Pinterest for examples of hygge decorating and was not disappointed (seriously, does Pinterest ever disappoint?). Then I hit Gordmans, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx to find some hygge treasures. I ended up with a faux fur rug, two plush woven pillows, a fox pillow, and a lighted birch tree. I set them all up next to my fireplace, and voila! I had a cozy little hygge spot where I could sip hot tea and read my books. My collection of hygge artifacts has increased over the last couple of years, but not with just random crap. Another aspect of hygge is nostalgia, so most of my new additions have a backstory. I’ve added two pillows that my mom knit by hand from wool she spun and dyed herself. One of my throws is a blanket I won playing dirty santa with some of the best coworkers I’ve ever had. Another throw is from my aunt who is more like a grandma to me. Now that’s not to say that you can’t go to Target and buy something really cute, but you get the jist of what I’m saying.
It may sound silly, but I can now say that this time of year is no longer one that I dread. Instead of getting depressed just thinking about it, I actually look forward to it! I can hardly wait to put away all my Christmas and get out my hygge stuff each January. I use throw pillows, rugs, LED candles, lighted trees, and blankets to create my hygge vibe. The best part is that they’re all relatively inexpensive items if you know where to shop! The most costly item is a rug that was $24.99. I would happily pay even more, though, for the boost of cheerfulness I get from the overall effect. I know that a lot of us struggle with a post-holiday winter funk. If that’s you, I highly encourage you to try a little bit of hygge in your life. Here are some pics of how mine has evolved over the past few years to get you started:
My first attempt at hygge in my old house! This was back when we had a Gordman’s, so I’m pretty sure I got everything for less than $50 total.
What do you do when the fireplace won’t come on for some unknown reason? Add fairy lights and LED candles! My fave thing about these candles is that they have a REMOTE! My second fave thing about them is the fact that a pack of 3 was less than $7 at Aldi. The cute basket was also an Aldi find that I filled with plush, cozy blankets. The new mantle is still a work in progress, but I love the overall look!
I probably have way more pillows than any one person needs, but I love what they add to the room. Plus several of them are handmade by my fabulously talented mom (more to come on that in a later post)!
I added a couple of new hygge items to my bedroom this year. These lights on each window cast a cozy glow that makes me feel more relaxed the moment I walk in the room. Definitely worth the $6 that each set cost! The piece de resistance, though, is the electric fireplace. While I’m pretty sure it’s one of those trends that people are going to consider horribly tacky 20 years from now, I feel no shame because it makes me happy! And that is, afterall, the entire point of hygge. Xoxo

The Comeback of the Fanny Pack

It’s an accessory we all thought would stay forever in the 90’s along with mood rings and butterfly clips: the fanny pack. The first time my daughter came home from a thrift store trip with one, I thought she was just being silly. But a few months later, when I saw a fist fight almost break out over a secondhand Gucci fanny pack, I realized the truth. This trend has risen from the ashes and is back in a BIG way.
When you look at the functionality of a fanny pack (or a bum bag, as the cool kids now call them), it makes total sense. You can carry all your stuff with you but still have both hands free. Plus, you don’t have to worry about it sliding off your arm or throwing your shoulder out because it’s so full (I’m not the only person who wayyyyyy overfills her purse, right?). If you’re traveling, you can even wear one under your shirt or jacket. Much better than one of those uncomfortable neck pouches that can give you a headache AND make you look like a tourist. I definitely could have used one in Paris when we were constantly trying to avoid being pick-pocketed!
Today’s fanny packs/bum bags/belt bags/whatever you want to call them are too cute to be hidden, though. Gone are the neon canvas bags of the 80’s and 90’s! Today’s versions are chic and stylish, and many are worn on an actual belt. There are even designer options from Gucci, Rag & Bone, and Rebecca Minkoff, just to name a few:
But this blog is all about AFFORDABLE fashion, so let’s take a look at some that are priced a bit more practically, shall we?
I love the bright pop of color from this red Steve Madden belt bag! It’s on sale right now at Nordstrom Rackfor under $20 but looks much more expensive than it is. This more subtle, sophisticated faux suede Vince Camuto bag is on clearance at Lord and Taylor marked down from $48 to less than $15!
If you’re in the mood for something a little more unique, go for a white one like this chic leather COS bag. It also happens to be detachable in case you want to use it as a clutch! Another fun option is a plush fanny pack like the one seen here from Forever 21. It’s on sale right now for less than $13!
So what’s the verdict? A fashionable reinvention of a convenient accessory, or an unnecessary resurrection of a relic that should stay in the 90s with NKOTB? Leave a comment and let me know what you think! Xoxo
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