We posted on Instagram a few months ago talking about how being stuck at home during quarantine inspired us to actually start our blog, but it also gave us time to take a meaningful look at our closets. From that go-through, we planned some really great stuff. What we didn’t plan on, was still being stuck inside months later!! With summer breezing by, we, like so many other people, have taken to distanced outdoor activities as the only option to show off and put on our good outfits. We picnicked at a local park, we picnicked at a park farther away, we’ve dressed up to go shopping and we’ve donned outfits only to stare at ourselves in the mirror. All worth it, but as someone who relies on casual clothes to get through most of the everyday, it’s been a new feeling to flex on other shoppers at the grocery store. But even though I want to wear new outfits, there’s something so tempting and easy about shorts and t-shirt that I have to get over to keep these habits going. Here are some photos from a few of our outdoor escapades, including what’s in our bag- a French grocery tote perfect for the summer (purchased as a three pack on Amazon).
Pastel Picnic (local park):
What’s In My Bag:
Book: A Wild Swan A modern satirical retelling of classic fairy tales from the library.
Thrifting is a mix of things, dedication and luck. My friends often get frustrated when my only answer to “Where did you get that?!” is, “A thrift store!” and I totally get it. When I hear that response from someone that I ask, I know it’s nearly impossible to get myself because this person bought the only one in existence. But that’s the beauty of thrifting- a sense of individuality. A lot of my thrifting could be attributed to luck and the abundance of options in my size, but I have also been thrifting regularly since 5th grade. Which leads us to some helpful strategies we’ve adopted to make us better thrifters:
1.You can’t expect to walk into a thrift store and find exactly what you’re looking for, like a perfect pair of vintage jeans. But don’t be discouraged either, that of course could happen but when it doesn’t, don’t give up! We often keep a running list of styles or ideal pieces we are looking for in the back of our minds (or written down if you’re organized like that). That way, every time you go to a thrift store, you might not find the ONE thing, but you could find something on your list, and you won’t forget what to look for next time.
2. The secret is fabric. Things often jump out to me based on the quality, color and pattern of the fabric. I find this strategy is most effective when looking through tops, but it applies to all sections of the store as well. When I walk into a thrift store, I head straight to the tops. Tops, I find, are the easiest to go through because sizes are the most liberal and I go through every single one at lightning speed. My arm is literally sore by the end, that’s how fast I go. Same thing goes for denim and other bottoms.
2a. If you can try things on, pull anything and everything you think might work. Sometimes magic happens when a piece comes off the rack and onto your body. And if it’s the opposite, at least now you know.
3. If you end up trying something on that you absolutely love but doesn’t fit right, consider tailoring! I have had several pieces adjusted by our favorite local tailor and it was totally worth it. The main thing to consider before frequently opting for tailoring is budget. It’s not always inexpensive to tailor something so consider how much the item costs plus how much the tailoring will be to decide if the item would be worth that price if it fit perfectly.
4. Bring your metaphorical magnifying glass to check for stains! This may seem obvious but some stains are not always visible when you’re looking on the rack. Pull everything out and change up the lighting to make sure there aren’t any permanent damages to the item like stains but also holes.
5. Another important tip is to check tags for the care instructions. If you’re low maintenance and don’t like to dry clean anything, that could help you decide if the piece is right for you. If there’s one thing we’re serious about it’s following the care instructions. It definitely adds to the lifetime of a piece, especially something that is pre-owned!
If you post if any of your thrifted finds, tag #frugalwench to show us what you’ve found!
If there’s one thing we know about shopping a sale, it’s that our most successful retail deals are the fruition of an intense game of chicken between consumer and retailer. Me, the consumer, waiting semi-patiently on the tracks for the price to drop and the retailer enticing me with whatever item I really want, hurling toward me like a moving locomotive. Of course there are times when we pay full price, we’re frugal, not cheap. But there are also times when the price is just too high. In those cases, here are things we consider to try and get the best deal.
Know the retailer: Are there any potential sales coming up? Depending on the brand, you can almost guarantee that there will be an upcoming sale. Is there a holiday this month? Is it almost black friday (a holiday in and of itself)? What season is it and what season is the item? If new inventory is coming in, this item will have to go and they’ll be willing to move pieces at a lower price. If we are talking designer or even lululemon you will just have to decide if the item is really worth the list price because a sale item is most likely not in your future.
Be strategic: There is a risk to waiting for a sale. The item could sell out before you have the chance to snag it. Make sure to consider what kind of sales the retailer has had in the past. If they are stingy when it comes to percentages off, it’s probably not worth the wait. If you know them to have bangin’ deals every once in a while, you could save big. Step 2 sub-step A: Master percentage math in your head.
Know yourself: This is the most important. This is when Marie Kondo’s advice comes most in handy, in the store. Does this item spark enough joy to pay full price? Does it spark enough joy to wait for it? Will you feel regret if you don’t buy it and it goes out of stock? If you think you are willing to pay full price, how many times do you think you will wear it? Do you like it enough that it doesn’t matter? Is the quality worth the price? Some things don’t have to go on sale to be worth purchasing.
Subscribe: I’m sure everyone has been offered the massive “10% off your first purchase” for signing up for a brand’s email list but the email list isn’t only a one time benefit. If you’re waiting for the perfect price, being on the email list will make you one of the first shoppers to know when a sale hits. Plus, you might get extra bonuses or money off as an email insider. Another way to stay up to date is to follow the brand on social media. Getting all of those emails may fill up your inbox, but when it comes to frugal shopping, these tools are necessary to strike when the price is right.
This process is the internal dialogue that runs through my head anytime I make a clothing purchase. It’s saved my wallet but it’s also helped me stay true to what I really want. I’ve found less and less that I buy anything I end up disliking after a short time. It’s a way to build a capsule wardrobe of any varying size. This capsule isn’t only about versatility and minimalism, but about value.
– The Waiting Game That is Shopping Like a Frugal Wench –
To shop like a frugal wench, one must channel the patience of a fashion saint. There are plenty of things to wait for as a shopper, especially if, like us, you’re picky. As a not-so-patient person, this has been a skill slowly cultivated.
For one thing, when you’re on a budget, you wait for the right price. Either you are waiting for a to-die-for piece to go one sale or you’re looking for a suitable alternative to fill the gap of something you love but is too expensive. That, or you’re waiting to become rich. I’m always waiting for that one but until then, we’re shopping the sale.
As avid thrifters, we have truly learned the virtue of patience. It’s true we have had great luck when it comes to finding fab pieces, but as many times as we have found something we like, we have left empty handed. To be a good thrifter, you have to learn that entering a thrift store is like playing Russian Roulette. One man’s trash is not always another man’s treasure… More likely not on an average day. BUT, the thrill of finding something good for so cheap, makes the endurance game that is thrifting worthwhile.
The hardest thing to wait for is the piece that you have completely envisioned in your head but can’t seem to find ANYWHERE. After hours of google searches and several trips to your favorite thrift stores with no luck, there’s not much to do but wait. Wait for the trend to come into style, wait for someone to donate it, or wait until you become a seamstress. A few years ago, I spent months looking for the perfect pair of green cargo pants to channel my inner Kim Possible. Eventually I found them in the men’s section of Gap Outlet.
Of course we’re not always waiting. A lot of buys are completely serendipitous. But when you shop like we do, it’s good to think of shopping as a long game.
Welcome to Frugal Wench. My sister Audrey and I have played with the idea of creating a blog for some time. We both love fashion- somewhat proven by our countless shopping trips, following of other fashion and lifestyle blogs, and subscriptions to Vogue magazine. We both love photography- if only shown through our personal instagram accounts. And we both ~like~ to write. But starting a blog seemed like a big undertaking. While we were both born Virgos, the possession of enough self discipline to not only create something, but maintain it, has come in shorter supply than our sun signs predicted for us. However, with the recent excess amount of time we’ve spent at home, we have been staring into our closets and down at our phones. With both internal and external inspiration, we decided that now is the time.
Frugal Wench is a diary of our favorite outfits and our shopping habits. It’s an anthology of the things we love about fashion and our successes in that realm. To explain the name, we’re broke. But we don’t let that stop us from at least trying to look good! We are seasoned thrifters and bargain hunters with shopping skills passed down generations from our grandmother, an og frugal wench. Although we prophesized a designer wardrobe in our future, for now we revel in vintage resale finds and one of a kind pieces that we can mix with our retail buys.
There are benefits to this fashion lifestyle. One of the most important being a sense of uniqueness. Depending on what you find, a purchase from a thrift store could be something you will never see again. Say goodbye to “who wore it best”. Plus, lets not forget about the sustainability factor – down with fast fashion! It also supports our tendency towards a maximalist ideology. We get the benefits of a capsule wardrobe, but the problem is, we like too many things. We clean out my closets every summer and a lot goes back to Goodwill (it’s a symbiotic relationship). But there is so much joy in refilling it with things we truly love. When on a budget, one must be choosy when it comes to what to buy, which we think makes my wardrobe a metaphorical maximized capsule – a lot of the good stuff. When we are only interested in buying pieces that we love, whether it means investing in something high quality that will last or finding a resale deal, we find it often pays to be a frugal wench.