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Monday, October 08, 2012

Mama Style - Guest Blogger Jessica

When I started thinking about this series, I thought about other women I know and how they, too, can inspire. I certainly can't give advice that will work for everyone, so I asked different mamas to contribute. Some are working mothers, some mostly stay home. Some have a newborn for the first time, others are doing it a third. Today's guest blogger is Jessica and I met her through mutual friends in college at WSU. I also just went to her daughter's first birthday party in September and loved the strawberry theme (and Aspen loved eating all the watermelon)! She blogs at Healthy Microbes.

About me? 5' 8', mother of 1, hate to clean, love to shop. That's about it. Ok, there is more, but let's keep it shallow for this posting. :)

When I was little my mom, on her limited budget, did all she could to put us in nice clothes. 95% of my wardrobe from birth to age 15 or so came from high-end stores like Nordstrom. In fact, until I was about 6 I didn’t realize that you could buy clothes from anywhere else. I guess I just thought that everyone got their clothes there (judge me and get over it. I was six.). May I remind you, our budget WAS limited but my mom knew how to shop. Even if something was to-die-for she wouldn’t buy it unless it was cute AND on sale, and not just that 20% of business. We are talking SALE sale. Thus, shopping trips for new school clothes was an exodus not just a trip to the mall.

To honor my posterity, I do the same. I seriously can’t remember a time I EVER paid full price for ANYTHING and that, my friends, is what makes ME feel fabulous. Pick a piece of clothing from my wardrobe and I can tell you how much it cost. Currently I am rocking a knit top ($7), and some Nordy jeans ($30-pretty steep, the most expensive jeans I own), and some knock off TOMS ($13).

TIPS on how to score (a great deal, that is):
1. Get to know the staff at your favorite discount store. Guess what, they love to make you happy and it makes their job more fun. Just be sure to not be one of those people that leave a mess of clothes in the dressing room. In fact put it back if you have time and just have a few things.
2. Be willing to dig, and put time into shopping
3. Don’t wait until you need something. ALWAYS be on the look out 4. Don’t spend too long gazing at the dressed up models in the front of the store-go all the way to the back and start in the clearance.
5. Always know your return policy. Usually it’s a last item, or limited sizes in the clearance, so if you see it, it fits and you like it-get it now and decide later if you really are in love. Just make sure you can return it.
6. Ask for a discount. Yesterday at Target I found this cute cookie jar sitting in the clearance section. I asked a sales associate how much it was and he told me. I said, “oh well it was in the clearance section so I wanted to see if it was on sale.” It wasn’t but because I found it there he gave it to me for 50% off! Woot! This season's decor at last year's price!
7. When you see someone wearing something you love-compliment and ask them where they got it. Half the time it's something they got on sale and then it opens new ideas on where to get things.

Now with all that said, you can get some pretty great prices at a place that just sells cheap stuff. You need to be able to recognize quality. I would much rather spend a couple extra dollars on something well-made than the cheap look-a-like most of the time. ALSO, there are some boutiques that mix and match the good with the bad, so know how to inspect a piece of clothing for what it is, not always accounting on the store to carry the best of everything (even our dear Nordstrom falls prey).

So what was my biggest steal-of-a-deal ever? Well, it has to have been when I found out about a close out sale for SHADE. I was digging through piles of XXXL and XXXXS to find the few regular sized items. As I checked out there was this huge pile of clothes sitting behind the register, so I asked about it. Turns out it was all “damaged” and they were throwing it out. I asked if I could look through it and they said take it. 70% of the clothes in there were not damaged at all! Just makeup stains, or a small tear that was easy to fix. To make things better I got a whole other box full of swimsuits some faded in places but others were totally fine! I got 7 new swimsuits that were my size, gave several away and used the rest for fabric scraps. BEST day of my life. NEVER had I felt more fabulous carrying out a bag of garbage.

Not that I am some runway model, but I like the way I look. And to make it even better, getting a new shirt/pants/necklace for 50-100% off makes me feel F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S.

Thanks again to Jessica for sharing these awesome tips for finding deals on long-lasting items that can help anyone feel fabulous. And spending $30 on a well-fitting, well-made pair of jeans is a screamin' deal! Also, I want some TOMS for Christmas! Where did you get yours?! Being frugal and well-dressed can go hand-in-hand for sure!

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