Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dressing on a Budget, Part Two: Grownups

Well, I'm not this slender, but you get the idea!
Photo by Photostock

Okay, as promised, part two of our clothing on a budget series!  Better late then never, right?  (Try telling that to the bill collectors, though...)

Clothing Gavin

Gavin is rather challenging to clothe.  He wears unusual sizes and he’s practically as rough on clothing as Elias!  Thanks to his job, he gets tears in unusual places that can’t be easily repaired.  I have almost zero sewing skills – I can sew on a button and repair a seam, but that’s about it.  He wears through shoes quickly and is incredibly picky about which ones he likes.  I’ve groused at him before for buying a pair of shoes and then never wearing them again.  He complains that a lot of shoes rub him on the heel and cut into his Achilles tendon.  We can avoid this by sticking with New Balance, but those are usually pretty expensive. 

For Gavin’s clothing, we can get some stuff at Walmart, but (Walmart aversion aside) they tend to be poorly made and just not very attractive.  Gavin’s job requires him to dress a certain way – not suit and tie, but khaki pants or slacks and a polo or dress shirt.  The place we’ve had the most luck for Gavin is K&G.  You have to dig through a whole lot of weird stuff, but you can find some gems and their sales are fantastic.  We recently hit a great sale where dress shirts were buy one, get one free, and the shirts themselves were only 19.99 (and they were REALLY nice shirts) so we were thrilled. 

K&G is also a great place for pants.  Like I mentioned, Gavin wears an unusual size that can be hard to find.  For a small fee, K&G will tailor your pants on site, which is incredibly handy.  Gavin only has to worry about finding pants that fit him in the waist – we can then tailor the leg to length as needed. 

Clothing Amee

My biggest hassle is being plus size.  Plus size women’s clothing is an absolute racket.  As Kirsten mentioned on a previous post, somewhere someone made the decision that plus size women either want to wear clothing covered with nauseating kittens or deep cut cleavage, leopard print and weird baubles.   As I’m a fan of neither of those, I get pretty frustrated.  Since I’m working from home I don’t have to worry about any sort of dress code, but I still have my own sense of “what looks nice” and I’d like to be able to stick with that.  But my choices are limited.

My best luck is usually at the Avenue.  They have great sales and since I’m signed up for their mailing list, I get notifications of those, plus additional coupons.  I’ve walked out some pretty good deals.  My last good shopping trip there a few weeks ago landed me two bras (have you ever priced plus-size bras?  It’s horrifying, truly), a beautiful loose-knit sweater, a lavender button-down blouse, and eight pairs of socks.  My total was about $80.  Those of you who shop for plus size know – that ain’t half bad.  Usually the two bras alone would cost that much.

The other place I’ve recently had good luck at was the Goodwill.  I have to be willing to dig through a lot of junk and I’ve discovered that I can’t go to just any Goodwill.  The Goodwill in Bellevue has the best selection, based on my size and style.  For those who don’t live in the Seattle area, Bellevue is a suburb directly to the east, known for being a bit swanky.  If you have expensive designer tastes, you can also score famous designer products there.  When I was last there, they had shoes by Prada and Jimmy Choo in a display case.  My friend scored a Hermes handbag for $30.  I don’t know enough about high fashion to tell you if the darn thing was real or not, but if it was, that sucker retails for $2,000.  I’m not kidding.

I was able to hook myself up with a beautiful long, dark green corduroy skirt by Lane Bryant that goes nicely with either a T-shirt or a blouse, a pair of new khaki pants from Old Navy that still had the original tags attached and a cashmere sweater with a ruffled scoop neck that looks lovely with camisole or tank under it, also by Lane Bryant.  My total for this little shopping spree?  Less than twenty bucks.  Seriously.  All three pieces were in excellent condition.  If they had ever been worn before, I couldn’t tell. 

Where’s your favorite place to shop cheaply?  And what's your recommendation for cheap shoes for Gavin???


  1. Big fan of Value Village, too; I got my heavy wool coat there for $12. The one in Redmond is particularly good. Goodwill in Maple Valley is also really good. No help on shoes, shoes are a pain in the butt. :P

  2. I haven't had much luck at the local Value Village. I'll have to check out the one in Redmond!