Shop Smart- Tips on How to Get the Most for Your Money

Hey Cats!

As you know, the purpose of my blog is “Styling the Single-Girl Closet on the College-Girl Budget”. I often style the good deals I find in my outfit posts, but today I’d like to share some of tips and tricks on how I fill my Single-Girl Closet on my College-Girl Budget.

1. It will always go on sale- wait a while! If you find something that you love that’s full price, give it a few weeks. Unless it’s already pretty affordable, or you’re on a schedule. I always do this at Dillard’s (especially with shoes!), JCrew, and Target, and usually end up saving a lot!

2. Start with the sale racks first- If I’m shopping just “to shop” (not looking for anything specific), I’ll head to the racks with the “SALE” signs first. That way if I find something I like (which I usually do), it will be a good deal!

3. Sign up for emails from your favorite stores. I subscribe to emails from Old Navy and Loft, and they have saved me all kinds of money! Loft will notify their subscribers of every sale, especially one-day only deals! I’ve rushed to Loft multiple times because of their 24-hour dress pant sale. Old Navy will send out coupons, some to be used online, and some in stores.

4. Always ask! If something is advertised as on sale, but rings up higher than expected, ask the cashier about it! You don’t have to be rude, just say “I thought that was supposed to be 50% off?”. They’ll usually correct a mistake, or explain why it actually isn’t on sale. Also, if you aren’t sure about a coupon or special offer, ask! I recently had a coupon for Old Navy that I wasn’t sure if I could use on clearance items, so I asked the cashier and he cleared it up for me. It never hurts to ask!

5. Compare and Contrast. Sometimes, the things I love are way out of my price range, even when they go on sale. When this happens, I try and find a comparable item at a lower price. Also, shopping around before you buy is key to making sure you get the best deal!

6. If you don’t love it, don’t buy it. This seems obvious, but it’s one of the best ways to avoid wasting your money. In the words of Sandra Bullock as Leigh Ann Tuohy in the Blind Side,”If you don’t love it in the store, you won’t wear it. The store’s where you love it the most.” If you’re not sure that it looks good on, or if you’re not sure if you need it, don’t buy it! I’ve bought a few things that I’ve worn about twice, and I definitely regret it! Make sure that you only buy things you really love and will get a lot of use out of.

Just remember, it takes time to fill a Single-Girl Closet on a College-Girl Budget! These tips should make it a little easier, and hopefully a little more fun! Do you have any smart shopping tips? Let me know!

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Suit Shopping for the Entry-Level Individual

Hey Cats!

I hope everyone is enjoying the new year! This is my last week at home before I go back to school, and I have so much to do- doctor appointments, visiting my hair lady, hang out with my bestie before we’re flung across Texas again, and squeeze in a practice LSAT. I got anxiety just typing all of that! But my parents are back at work, so I won’t have anything to do during the day! I’m really excited for this semester, and I’m ready to be back with my roommates and in a routine.

Last week, my family and I went to Dallas to do some shopping. We went on January 1st since everything was on sale, and it was a madhouse. It’s all kind of a blur, but I vaguely remember everyone violating my personal space and saying “I hate people” a number of times. However, it was all worth it because we accomplished our goal of purchasing a suit for me, the soon-to-be adult.

This also gives me anxiety. (It seems we’re all learning a lot about my anxiety issues today…you’re welcome.) It’s really weird and unsettling to think that in a little less than a year, I’m going to have to find something productive to do with my life. I have no clue what I want to do with my life…can I just stay in college forever? Some days I want to be an attorney, some days I want to move to New York and work in PR, and some days I just want to lay down and take a nap. However, I know that I just have to deal with it, and I need to get an internship this summer, even if it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life. I convinced myself that I can’t go to the career fair at the business school if I’m not wearing a suit, because everyone that’s there has their life together and I super do not, so I should at least look like I do. And I’ll (hopefully) have job interviews next year, so I might as well get one.

This was kind of a stressful situation for me- I wanted to get something that said, “Hire me”, but I also wanted it to be flattering, but not too trendy, but not too stuffy, not too severe, but not too soft….you see the dilemma. Luckily, my sister and mom helped me A LOT, and I learned a lot through this process that I’m going to share to hopefully make your experience less painful.

1. A suit is an investment- be prepared to pay a pretty penny. 

I’m not saying run out and buy something Chanel, but if you want something that looks nice, it’s not going to be cheap. The saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” is a saying I like to live by, and in this case, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you’re interviewing for”. (unless, of course, you’re interviewing for your dream job, then disregard my advice.) The way you present yourself is very important. Even if you’re still in college and interviewing for an internship, you want to look like someone who is professional and takes life seriously (even if you’re not). That being said, you should definitely make an effort to find a good deal- I got my suit at the Banana Republic Factory, and it was $140 total, each piece at least 40% off. Also, keep in mind alteration costs- those can add up!

2. Shop in the right department for your body type

This sounds very obvious, but somehow it wasn’t for me. At exactly five foot, I belong in the petites section, but I never shop there (I just buy cropped jeans and wear them as regular length-not a joke). Because of this, it really didn’t dawn on me to look in the petites section for suits. After a few stores, I tried on a suit from the petites section, and it was magical. I wasn’t drowning in pant puddles, and my hands actually stuck out of the arm holes. Since suits are supposed to have a tailored fit, it’s important to find one that is made for people like you. So if you’re a bit smaller, try the petites section, or if you’re a bit bigger, try the plus section. This will also cut down on alteration costs!

3. Be picky & don’t settle 

This kind of goes along with #2. Make sure you really like what you’re getting, and it’s the best possible option. I had 3 suits on hold at different stores before I ended up buying one. Since you are spending a lot, make sure you leave with something you will wear, knowing it’s the best thing you’ve found that day.

4. Try things on even if you’re not sure how it will look

I refused to try anything other than black, until I got desperate. I reluctantly tried on a navy pin-striped suit, thinking I would rather die than wear pin-stripes, but I ended up loving it (and buying it). Don’t count something out until you try it on!

5. Don’t forget, alterations are always an option

Unless you are incredibly blessed, no suit will fit you exactly. You will probably have to get the pants hemmed or the sleeves shortened, or the jacket taken in. If something fits almost perfectly, I would suggest buying it and getting it altered.

Hopefully this will help keep you sane on your suit-shopping adventure!

That’s all for meow!

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Shopping Spotlight: Northgate Vintage

Hey Cats!

As you know, there’s no place I’d rather be than College Station. While it is one of the best college towns in the south, (this is in Southern Living, not just my biased/correct opinion) it isn’t exactly the “Retail Capital of Texas”. There are some great little boutiques around town, but my personal favorite is Northgate Vintage. Right across from campus in College Station’s “bar district”, Northgate, this precious shop is tucked away between a pizza parlor and a Starbucks. In fact, if you were just strolling the sidewalks, you might walk right past it without even noticing. But don’t do that! Go up the (slightly terrifying) spiral staircase to a wonderful, uniquely-decorated, space and you will find yourself in absolute vintage heaven. It’s a small store, but it is filled with beautiful pieces that your closet is begging to be filled with. Begging. In the fall, they have perfect maroon pieces for gameday in the SEC (an increasingly formal event), in the winter they have a great selection of vintage sweaters, and now they have wonderful bright-colored, lighter pieces for spring! They also have a men’s section, but I don’t shop for men,  so if you do, you should go check it out and get back to me. My favorite thing about Northgate Vintage, however, is their jewelry. Jewelry has become a recent obsession of mine. It can add variety and interest to your wardrobe, and dresses up otherwise basic outfits. The jewelry at Northgate Vintage is always in step with the current trends, but still unique. There is something for everyone, from classic stud earrings to over-the-top statement necklaces. And it’s super affordable, most of the earrings are $6-$7, and the necklaces are $11-$15. So that means you can buy a lot and not feel bad about overspending! I have purchased a few baubles from Northgate Vintage this year, and they have made countless appearances in my wardrobe ever since!

The beginnings of an extensive collection.

These gold earrings were my first purchase from Northgate Vintage, marking the commencement of my obsession. I bought them in the fall when gold and chevron was all the rage. They are a little bold, which is not what I would originally gravitate towards, but I have loved them! I’ve paired them with a sheer maroon and white top for gameday, a blazer and boots for dinner, and a simple tank and skirt for going out!

Next we have these adorable little clothes hanger earrings. I saw these and knew that I had to have them! I also bought my sister a matching pair for Christmas, and she loves them too! The fact that they’re clothes hangers conveys my passion for fashion, and I love the touch of whimsy from the mismatched pearls and rhinestones. I wear these with anything and everything! I’ll throw them on with a t-shirt and leggings for class, or if I’m wearing a shirt or dress with a busy pattern. They have also become my go-to earrings for silver jewelry days.

These grey chandelier earrings are also something I wouldn’t normally buy, but they have proved to be new favorites as well! Grey is a new favorite neutral of mine, so I love how these go with lots of different outfits. As of right now I’ve only worn them once, with a cotton dress with a small light pink and cornflower blue floral print, a blue jean jacket, and boots. I tried them on, not expecting them to match, but they did! I also plan to wear them with a cute cream, lace peplum top I just purchased!
Now for one of my absolute favorites. These teal teardrop oversized studs complete my life. Well, they nearly complete my wardrobe. I’m loving teal for spring and summer, and I’m thinking it will transition into fall as well! The teardrop shape makes them different from your average studs. I wear these with many different things, such as a blazer and boots, a solid black longsleeve tee and mustard jeans, and even dresses! They’re beautiful and interesting, yet still simple enough to wear with busy outfits.
Don’t you just love it when you find something that’s been at the top of your wishlist forever? That’s what happened when I found this light pink statement necklace. Statement necklaces have been growing exponentially in popularity, and it was seriously stressing me out that I hadn’t jumped on the trendy train yet. I like this because it’s not too extreme but it’s still an attention-getter. I also really like the color, it’s more versatile than I expected! I typically wear this with solid tees and a cardigan, both of which I hoard, so I have plenty of options. I’m also looking forward to trying this with my new peplum top I mentioned earlier!
I absolutely adore all of my baubles from Northgate Vintage, and I look forward to returning soon for another shopping spree! In addition to their merchandise, I admire this business because they give back to the College Station and global community. They have hosted numerous profit shares for organizations and sororities benefiting their philanthropies, and they carry products whose profits benefit people around the world, such as TOMS, bracelets and headbands made by women in third-world countries, and makeup that fights human trafficking. So, the next time you’re down in Aggieland, stop by Northgate Vintage for a unique College Station shopping experience! Or check them out online or on Facebook!
Until Next Time!