Category Archives: $hopping

Resoling Boots & Budget Glam Fashion!

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Doesn’t it seem like everything happens to the budget at once?  If it’s not a car insurance payment and a car repair bill, it’s death by a thousand nickle-ings and dime-ings.  I am in such a budgeting conundrum when it comes to clothes.  Slowly but surely, though, I plan to solve these issues without going into the hole and not sacrificing quality (I hope!).

First, I have tried to develop a good sense of what I actually wear by decluttering the closet regularly.  Every single season I look at what I’m putting in the closet or what I’m trying to store away.  If I haven’t worn it and likely won’t, it goes.  Decluttering has the odd outcome of creating a list of things you actually need to buy.  But it’s what you actually need, not just what looks good to you at the time.  This is how I know that I need, among a few other things, a trench coat, boots, some new jeans and a pair of red cargo pants, lol.  I don’t need new suits no matter how pretty they are.  There isn’t anything wrong with the suits I have.  But until I went through my closet thoroughly, I had no idea what I actually owned or how nice some of it really was.

After getting a real list of things I need, the next thing to do is figure out how much I can afford.  The real answer is, not much.  But I’ve also learned that if you’re not careful, paying $20 when you should’ve probably paid $100 only guarantees you’ll end up buying something that comes apart in the wash.  It’s not a bargain if it falls apart, is sewn improperly, etc.  Unless you simply cannot afford anything else, I’ve learned that it’s best to wait, save that money up for the one good thing, and then get it.  OR, you can shop consignment!  I had turned away from consignment for many years, the result of my mother having dragged us through so many “nearly new” stores it would make your head spin.  The items were usually very out of date or very worn.  I’ve realized later that this was probably because of what a depressed area we were in.  Here, though, I’ve managed to find a lovely leather swing skirt jacket with a real fur collar for about $15.  There is also a store that offers designer or upscale brand items for a great price.  Jeans normally priced $100 – 150 are in the store for about $20.  Still, it pays to carefully try things on and really study it.  Sometimes people give what looks like a good item away because it fits funny.  Been there, wasted money on that!

But by far the smartest thing I’ve done for the budget and my wardrobe this fall has been resoling two pairs of boots.  In our throwaway society, I don’t think many people in my generation or certainly younger think to resole boots.  But really, that’s usually where the most damage is done.  I paid about $150 apiece for each pair of boots.  To me, that’s a lot of money.  Even with Black Friday “savings” on many shoes coming up, I stalked the stores for weeks and couldn’t find things that were comparable to what I already had.  I really liked those boots!  While whining about not being able to find comparable things, a friend suggested I get them resoled.  But good luck, she said, in finding someone to do it.  It is a dying trade, apparently, as people just chuck their shoes in favor of getting something new.  And while I did find a few people had gone out of business, I found a shop right on main street that dealt in leather goods and were capable of resoling shoes.  Resoling them cost about $30 – 40 per pair of boots.  So between the two pairs, I paid less than I probably would’ve had to for one new pair, and I’ve breathed new life into them!  They came back to me all shined up and I swear they looked like new.  The soles are actually better, I think, than the original ones.  I bought those boots at least three years ago, I’m thinking more like four or five years ago.  These new soles have bought me at least another 2 years, I’m thinking!

What a great deal and a great way to support local artisans!

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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!