Friday, June 1, 2012

Cheap Thrills - Shop Like You Mean It

This is the third post of a series on cheap fashion, Cheap Thrills- Shop like you mean it.  The following posts will continue in showing you how I find good deals-- it's a long read so I split it up over a few posts.  I'll also later detail some of my best steals.

So you've got your plan in hand, and are ready to go spend some money.  Or are you?  The next step is indeed to head out to the mall, but hopefully you're not going to spend a cent--yet. 

In order to determine what is available and at what prices, you need to get out there and browse.  I probably head over to the mall every 1-2 weeks to just look at things.  Its important that you go mostly to look, not to buy, as that defeats the entire purpose of being cheap.  What you're looking for is what's available in stores.  For example, sometimes I am looking for a particular item.  From my list in the previous post in this series, for Spring, I've been looking for coloured denim/pants and plain metal cuffs, but since these are very trendy items, I didn't want to spend too much on them. 

To see what a reasonable budget would be, I went to the store every time I was in the area or was going for some other reason.  While there, I'd look in EVERY store that I thought might carry either coloured pants or metal cuffs and see if I could find them, regardless of budget or specifics.  I wanted to get a good idea of what was available to me.  I don't shop online very often, so I did the brick & mortar thing, but if you like online shopping, browse online in the same way.  Take note of the range of prices you find.  This will help you find a more realistic budget for the item you want-- there are some things you just won't likely find for $5 unless you realllllly wait it out.  Sometimes you'll find an item is all over the stores-- you'll find a billion striped tee variations, and dark wash skinny jeans are ubiquitous.  Sometimes I'll even see the EXACT SAME ITEM in two different stores with different branding.  Other things are hard to find-- I once found the perfect pair of turquoise and silver beaded sandals and have never seen a pair like them since anywhere.  By seeing what is available to you, you'll know when you can safely wait for a rock bottom price and when you'll need to make a purchasing decision more quickly.

In my browsing adventures, I determined that I could find many colours in skinny jeans varying in price from about $30 to $200.  However, I couldn't find very many coloured pants.  I tried on a bunch of these, even though I had no intention of buying them, just to see what I could get in terms of fit.  I found that a lot of it was too low in the rise for me, or too tight in the thigh.  Originally, I had wanted coloured pants so I could potentially wear them to work as well as casually, and I wanted a skinny silhouette that was a medium rise.  I wanted all this for less than $20 ideally, and I wasn't willing to pay more than this as an absolute budget, as I don't wear pants all that much anyways anymore.  After browsing, I refined my original plan.  I decided to open up the search to include coloured denim, since there weren't many pant options.  I did not budge on the silhouette or the price.  Since I didn't have a set timeframe for when I needed to buy coloured pants, I continued to browse for about half a year.  Finally, I found a pair of red jeans that were skinny, had a medium rise, and were on sale for $15.  Score!

This is absolutely why I need two cuffs.

Believe it or not, the cuffs were harder.  I had originally seen some cuffs browsing around on the internet and thought they would be easy to find.  However, I could not find anything without embellishment or that wasn't curved.  I found a cuff once at Nordstrom, but it was $60 and I was not okay with that.  I refined my original plan… actually I didn’t.  I did not want to pay more than $10 for two pieces of bended metal and I was really, really attached to the image in my head.  Finally, I found a cuff that was only slightly curved in silver.  I decided I was okay with this only to find there was just one left.  I definitely wanted two, so I left without purchasing.  I was browsing the same store a few days later and found two of the cuffs!  I ended up paying about $6 per cuff (I did cave a little at the end).

In summary, it's important to look at as much merchandise as you can, to 1) see what kinds of things are available to you, and 2) get an idea of what you can realistically expect to pay for an item.

In the next post, I'll talk about how to figure out sales and discounts and all that good stuff.

2.  The Plan of Attack
3. Shop Like You Mean It - You Are Here!


  1. Jyoti, both the Gap and Madewell have some nice skinny coloured jeans this year. Check them out!

    1. Thanks Rose! I don't have a local Madewell, but I'll be sure to check out the Gap next time I'm at the mall!


  2. nice skinnies!!


  3. so cuuuteee :)

  4. I found $10 red pants at New York & Co with a coupon. It seems very hard to find colored pants in non-denim but the material is so much more comfortable! Great job on finding both things on your list for such good prices :)

    1. I remember reading that post and being really jealous. xD I agree; I wanted some that I could wear to work since I definitely don't have as much opportunity to wear casual clothing nowadays, but sadly I couldn't find anything. I tried to go to NY&Co after seeing your post and then realized that we don't have any in Canada (at least my corner of it). xD



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