Budget Glamorous Shopping Challenge: Jeans

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I love shopping as much as the next girl.  I like the hunt of finding the perfect thing rather than the accumulation of stuff itself, but that hasn’t stopped me from cluttering up my home on occasion.  I’ve done a great job of decluttering the house so far, including my closet, my makeup bag, my utility room and my bookshelves.  (The rest of the house, strangely, seems right on target!  Hmm…)  Because I have certain debt and emergency fund goals, not to mention an upcoming chance to go back to India two years from now, I am trying very hard not to spend more money on things than I absolutely have to.  It helps me to envision things like a fat emergency fund or a paid off home or a plane ticket when I’m tempted to spend.  Still, there are times when spending must happen, and now is one of those times.

I need another pair of jeans.  I blew the butt out of one pair and so they’ve been given over to property chores status, such as when I paint things.  My other choices are wearing out rapidly.  I need a pair that I can scoot around town (and on the bike) in, which means there are certain construction requirements.  I stopped in my favorite boutique the other day to try on their delicious brands of jeans, and they fit like a dream — but they’re about $200.  I like a pair of well-fitting jeans and I was tempted to just part with the money and be done with it.  But then I visualized my fat emergency fund (obviously still in my dreams, since it’s not a “remembered” emergency fund, lol) and decided that, sigh, it just wasn’t worth it.  On the other hand, I don’t want to buy a pair of cheap jeans that don’t really fit well and I won’t wear.

Then I remembered something my seamstress had mentioned when I dropped off a Juicy Couture swimsuit to her for slight alteration.  I found the swimsuit at huge discount brand new and it’s perfect except for one small problem.  I nearly put it back on the shelf until I remembered her.  I like to say I visit her atelier, because that seems so much more glamorous, and indeed she could make me a custom dress for the low, low starting price of $450.  When I’m less budget and more glamorous, I’ll probably take her up on it.  In the meantime, she nips, sews, hems and otherwise makes magic on clothing finds I bring in but cannot quite wear.  She’s a bargain unto herself and her work is flawless.  She’ll probably be her own post soon enough.  Anyhoo, she noticed the brand and mentioned that she’d found many upscale pairs of designer jeans for under $10 ...at the Goodwill store in town.

I hesitated.  I do not have the kind of luck that other women do in finding awesome clothes at used stores.  I go in and find things many times my size in very poor condition.  Other women seem to walk out with designer suits and mink coats.  I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but it has to be something!  So, this seems like as good a challenge as any to sharpen up this skill.  Truthfully, I don’t need much.  Because of careful closet editing, I’ve gotten rid of the things I do not wear or have not worn so that it is easy to see what I have left to work with.  And I actually have enough nice things to work with and have been able to create a bunch of surprisingly well put together outfits so far.  The jeans, however, are a staple and they have to be replaced, especially since with the bike, I have to have a certain leg style (very straight, no flare) in order to ride safely.

The only problem I foresee is getting overwhelmed, which happens to me on any shopping trip but especially seems to happen to me with consignment shopping.  I hit Goodwill and there’s eleventy-million pants to choose from and eventually it all starts to blend together.  Any tips on how to make my best effort at this?  Do I case the place first and then rehaunt it periodically?  That seems most logical.  How often do I haunt a place?  What am I even looking for?  Halp!

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3 responses »

  1. I’ve been thrifting for years and I don’t even look at the jeans for the reasons you say! Why not see if you can find the brand you like (and the model #) cheaper online or ebay or whatever.

    Goodwill is good for sweaters and kids clothes. With the money you save on those, you can get your jeans.

  2. Is there an upscale thrift in a town or city within driving distance? How about a Costco?

    I’ve not tried the jeans at my favorite second-hand store, but I’ve been having luck with other kinds of things. My experience with these places is the same as yours: shortly they all blend together into one second-hand blur. Or better yet…one memorable time at Loehmann’s I came across this polyester dress Thing with pink, green, and purple polka dots. No joke.

    If one of them weren’t enough to put your eye out, try ONE ON EVERY RACK! Everywhere I looked, there was another pink, green, and purple polka-dotted thing in a different size. Horrible.

    So by and large I give up shopping in bargain outlets.

    Costco, however, has old-lady jeans — the high-rise type, not the ones that fit down around your fanny — very reasonably priced and they actually fit real women. They’re Gloria Vanderbilt. It’s possible the chain carries a low-rise style that fits, too…haven’t looked, ’cause when I find a pair of pants that fits, I tend to stick with them until they’re taken off the market. Possibly you could find Glorias on Amazon.com. They seem to run true to size or maybe even a tiny bit large.

    Once, a long time ago, I found Lee’s jeans in a K-Mart in misses sizes. These usually are marketed in junior sizes and don’t fit anyone over the age of about 12. But they DO make them for actual grown-ups…at least, they did.

    • Wait! Amazon DOES have them. The line is called “Amanda.” But they’re a LOT more expensive from Amazon than from Costco, where they’re only about $18. Still, if you can’t find what you want where you live, it could be worth a few extra bucks to cruise Amazon for brands you know will fit.

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