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bargains

emerson fry for less

emerson fry for less

Emerson Fry is a line that was started (as Emerson Made) in 2009. In the beginning, the line was small and Emerson herself was the model as well as designer. This image has been one of my favorite style inspirations since I saw it (I believe this is the "mod" dress from
Spring 2011).

emerson fry mod dress

As the line has grown, she's added more and more classic, simple, and beautiful garments. They all seem as though they'll never go out of style. Currently, I like the Drawstring Raglan Dress and the Italian Motoretta Dress (below).

Another look I love, and one that is super popular around the interwebs is the Caftan Dress (below, left).

I was looking at it recently when I realized that I had something extremely similar bookmarked on Amazon (above, right). Same cut, made in the same country (India). I wouldn't hesitate to invest in one of Emerson Fry's chic dresses, but for this guy, I think I'll pay $25 instead of $238.

This is more boho than my usual style, but I feel like I lean a little more boho in the summer - it's hard to pull off in the snow, amiright? Does your style change from season to season?

blogger dinner + selling at avalon exchange

blogger dinner + selling at avalon exchange

As I've mentioned before, I'm lucky enough to be a part of a great group of local bloggers who meet regularly to catch up and talk life and blogging.

L to R: Liz @  Will There Be Cake , Sara @  Running from the Law,  Jessica @  I Want Adventure,  Alyssa @  My Husband's Watching TV While I'm Watching the Baby,  me, Lindsay @  Itz Linz , and Liz @  Ellie & Addie.   (Unfortunately, not able to be there was Meg @  Meg In Training )

L to R: Liz @ Will There Be Cake, Sara @ Running from the Law, Jessica @ I Want Adventure, Alyssa @ My Husband's Watching TV While I'm Watching the Baby, me, Lindsay @ Itz Linz, and Liz @ Ellie & Addie.  (Unfortunately, not able to be there was Meg @ Meg In Training)

We got together last week and most of the conversation revolved around pregnancy since five out of the seven of us who were there are pregnant! I'm telling you, there's something in the water. School administrators, you better hire extra kindergarten teachers for the fall of 2019!

Necklace - Avalon Exchange, sweater - thrifted, jeans- thrifted, boots - Steve Madden Intyce

I thrifted this J. Jill (I know, not a brand I thought I'd wear, but they have some cute things!) sweater at Savers. It's a shape that I love, and I don't have anything similar in a light color, however, it had several small stains. Luckily, even though the sweater is a cashmere blend (well, 95% cotton and 5% cashmere), it was machine washable. I took a chance on it and was glad I did since the stains came out with no problem.

I'm also wearing maternity jeans that I thrifted from Red Racks and altered. The ankles were a little more straight-leg than I preferred and so I just narrowed the leg from the knee down, a simple fix. These are from the brand Indigo Blue and they've been my favorites so far. I was lucky enough to find them right after Meg mentioned this brand in a comment on this post.
Not bad for $7.

st louis personal stylist

I got my necklace with store credit at Avalon Exchange. I often talk about cleaning out regularly and if you have clothes that are in great condition, but were just mistake purchases (see this post), it's great to try and get some money out of them. There are several higher end resale (Women's Closet Exchange) and consignment (Byrd) stores that I love, and eBay is always the best way to get the most money. However, if your items aren't a designer caliber and you don't have the time to spend listing things on eBay, Avalon is another good option. They will take items from Forever 21, H&M, Target, and even some vintage, if they are in great condition, the right season, and very current trends. Having said that, they are still very picky, and you have to go in knowing that they'll probably take 1-2 out of every 10 pieces you bring in. For the items they take, you get 30% of the price they'll sell the piece for in cash, or you can choose to get 45% of the price in store credit.  The cash amount is usually very small, so I often take the credit.

st louis personal shopper

Having store credit is great for those times when you are really feeling the shopping urge, but know that you shouldn't be spending any money. I don't always find something, but when I do (like the Jeffery Campbell snakeskin pumps above), I always feel so virtuous that I was able to get something nice from the act of cleaning out my closet.

How about you? Do you resell your clothes - and if so, how?

september clothing budget

september clothing budget

This month's shopping was about filling holes or replacing favorites that were past their prime.  Here's what I bought (clockwise from left):

1) A black A-line shift dress is a piece that never goes out of style, is flattering on most body types, and can work easily for multiple types of occasions. I have/had two: one with three-quarter sleeves from H&M and a sleeveless one from Uniqlo, and they were both getting worn to the point of embarassment. I decided to splurge a little bit on this dress to replace those - Diane von Furstenberg at half off via the Outnet. I'll have it forever. ($175)

2) Everyone needs a fun party dress, and I definitely needed something to spice up my wardrobe a little. Since I mostly seem to be dressed way up or way down these days, this was a good buy for me. It's already made its debut, and prepare to see it at lots of holiday parties IRL. This Parker dress was a find from my new favorite consignment store Byrd. ($80)

3) This white top from JC Penney was probably actually the least necessary of the three items, but after seeing it on fellow St. Louis fashion blogger Pysche with a great statement necklace, I was hooked. Tops like this come in so handy for client meetings or for volunteering at Dress for Success, where I need to look put together, but not necessarily totally business-y. I've also had the photo below (of Ann Fulenwider, editor of Marie Claire, pardon the scan from a magazine page) saved in my inspiration files for a while now, and this is the perfect top to recreate this look. Isn't it amazing how three simple pieces like a white top, black pants, and a beautiful necklace can look so sophisticated?

 

ann fulenwider.pdf.png

My total this month was $280, a little over my budget like last month, but I'm hoping things will get balanced out over the next few months as I revert back to my winter wardrobe, which should be pretty well set. How do you think I did? Check out all of the other budgeting bloggers on Franish!

 

august clothing budget

august clothing budget

I didn't really have a plan for my August shoppping and just ended up with three pieces that I knew I'd get lots of use from and which were all really good deals. 

1) The sweater is Vince and is selling at Nordstrom online for $320 right now, but I bought it at Nordstrom Rack for $159. It's cuter on.  I'll probably only wear this, um, 5 days a week during the winter...

2) The white blouse pictured is not the exact one I got, but similar to the silk Theory blouse I got at the new St. Louis Premium Outlets Saks Off 5th store. It was marked down from $190 to $76, and with a sale and a Living Social $20 for $40 deal, I ended up paying $6 in the store (plus the $20 to Living Social).

3) I saw these Lucky Brand boots on a sale rack while I was in Boulder and had been wanting some in this style. They were on sale for $60, and if you like them too, they're now only $30 on 6pm.com! (caution-no free returns at 6pm)

Total =  $245, over my budget of $200

I will admit, I am a little bored of only buying basics, but I swear, I am not seeing colors and prints that I love and I won't buy anything I don't love. Not to mention that every image I'm drawn to in magazines and on pinterest are black basics, accessorized really well. Good enough for me. 

I'm linking up with Franish - go here to see all the budgeting bloggers' august budgets!

Here are my July, June, May, and April budgets.

guide to st. louis thrift stores

guide to st. louis thrift stores

I've been meaning to write this post ever since I blogged my tips for thrifting. It's possible that you'd like to check out some thrift stores in St. Louis but just don't know where to go or where to start. Fear no more, here's my guide. However, all thrift stores are not created equal and so I've ranked the level of difficulty of shopping these stores from 1-5 (1=easiest, 5=hardest)

Savers


Four locations in the St. Louis area
Best for: clothes, housewares
Level of difficulty: 1 out of 5
Organized by: clothes by type and size

For the thrift store rookie, Savers is a good place to start. These stores are relatively new to St. Louis and they're nice and bright and clean. Clothes are organized by very specific categories (sleeveless shirts, short sleeve knits, short sleeve blouse, etc) and by size within each category. Because of this, there's less sifting you have to do to find your size, however, don't forget that sizing varies so much that a large in one brand and a small in another could both be a fit. I look at all sizes, but I'm hard-core like that. Books and housewares are also pretty current and in good condition. A word of caution: the tradeoff for the store being so user-friendly is the pricing - things are waaay overpriced. If you save up some donations (you know, from cleaning out your closet) you'll get a 25% off coupon, which helps.
Best find: Marc Jacobs dress for $13 (below), $200 Cuisinart grind and brew coffeemaker for $30

 

dacy gillespie st louis personal shopper

Red Racks

Three locations in St. Louis 
Best for: housewares
Level of difficulty: 2 out of 5
Organized by: clothes by type and size

Like Savers, Red Racks is relatively new to St. Louis and well-organized, if slightly less spiffy. Pricing is decent and there are often 50% off sales - for instance, Labor Day, September 2nd, everything in the store is half off.
Best find: 16-piece midcentury set of dishes for $20

 
dacy gillespie st louis personal shopper

Goodwill

Multiple locations in the St. Louis area, search for one near you here 
Best for: clothes, shoes, housewares, baby clothes
Level of difficulty: 3 out of 5
Organized by: clothing is only organized by type, not size

There are so many Goodwill stores out there that it's often just the most convenient thrift store to hit regularly. Clothing is relatively current, but the best thing about shopping at Goodwill is their partnership with Target. Goodwill stores are the recipients of donations of unsold clearance merchandise from Target - new, with tags on, often while the same items are still for sale in the store. Recently, I've seen houseware items from the Nate Berkus for Target line and from the designer collaboration Prabul Gurung for Target. When shopping for my nieces, I've seen the same large amounts of baby clothes with tags still on. And if you're understandably a little skeeved out by used shoes, there are also many pairs from Target with tags on. Unfortunately, there's not much furniture in most of these stores (although my best find does happen to be a piece of furniture).
Best find: midcentury modern desk for $25

 

dacy gillespie st louis personal shopper

Value Village

Three St. Louis locations 
Best for: the occasional vintage find
Level of difficulty: 3.5 out of 5
Organized by: clothing is only organized by type, not size

When I first moved to St. Louis, Value Village was my go-to spot. They always had a good amount of vintage clothes, but either I've gotten more picky, or the supply has dwindled. There's still a huge amount of clothing, so you never know when you'll come across a gem. Oddly, the company that owns Savers is also called Value Village, but since these stores don't show up on the Savers/Value Village site, I guess they're not affiliated.
Best find: Several great vintage dresses

St. Vincent de Paul

Four St. Louis locations 
Best for: furniture
Level of difficulty: 4 out of 5
Organized by: clothes only organized by type

This is a very basic thrift store, hit or miss for the most part. Clothing is pretty dingy and usually not worth the effort. The real reason to hit this store is for the furniture. Just in terms of quantity, there is a huge amount, much more than any other thrift store in town, so the odds are just better of finding something good. 
Best find: our midcentury dining room table, four chairs, and buffet for $200

 

dacy gillespie st louis personal shopper

Salvation Army

Website's not very helpful, but the location I usually go to is at 4121 Forest Park Ave, St Louis, MO 63108
Best for: the occasional vintage find
Level of difficulty: 4 out of 5
Organized by: clothes only organized by type

The Salvation Army has an ok assortment of everything: housewares, clothes, and furniture. In general, the clothes are just old and nothing special, but there are always a few vintage dresses and blouses tucked amongst the rest of the wares, you just have to search harder to find them. Same with the furniture, every once in a while there are nice mid-century finds, but for the most part it's bad 80's junk.
Best find: Bottega Veneta belt for $1, Diane von Furstenberg dress for $7, Frye boots for $10

Goodwill Outlet 

http://www.mersgoodwill.org/shop/goodwill-outlet-store/
Best for: Housewares and decorative items
Level of difficulty: 5 out of 5
Organized by: absolutely nothing

The Goodwill outlet is not for the faint of heart. Items are piled in large bins and you have to pick through mounds of stuff that was deemed not good enough for a Goodwill store. Many people actually wear gloves, which is honestly not a bad idea. If you're not scared off by all of that, there is no cheaper thrift store - all items are $.79 (yes, seventy-nine CENTS) a pound, except for books and glassware, which are $.39 a pound. If you are in need of mass quantities of mason jars, glasses, dishes or items to repurpose (spray paint, refinish, etc.) this is your place. Also good if you need books as decorative items, there are lots of vintage books with interesting cover designs. There is some furniture, but not much.
Best find: midcentury dresser in rough condition for $6

 

So, tell me - if you don't normally frequent thrift stores, is this helpful? Have I missed any? Anyone have any secret locations they want to give up?

 

designer on a budget: zero+maria cornejo

designer on a budget: zero+maria cornejo

Zero+Maria Cornejo is one of my absolute favorite designers, but one who is not within my budget. However, several months (yes, months) ago, I set up an alert on ebay that tells me when pieces by her get listed and this morning snagged a dress that *was* within my budget! Fingers crossed it fits and that my patience pays off...

Zero+Maria Cornejo Pre-Fall 2013

Zero+Maria Cornejo Pre-Fall 2013

 (This is not the dress, but omg, how gorgeous, right?)

nordstrom anniversary sale

nordstrom anniversary sale

I know, I know, it's a million degrees outside and you can't possibly bear the thought of a sweater touching your skin. But believe it or not, it's time to think about fall if you want to catch any of the great deals at the Nordstrom anniversary sale. For the uninitiated, this is the only sale (at least, that I'm aware of) in which the clothes start out on sale and then go back to regular price. The sale starts on July 18, but if you have a Nordstrom card (I'm not necessarily proud of this), you can shop now.

Here are a few of my picks: 

click image for sources

click image for sources

Waiting for fall isn't necessary for these tops - clockwise from top left: Trove Animal Print Blouse: $49.90 ($78 after sale); Caslon Slash Neck Tee: $19.90 ($34 after sale); Ten Sixty Sherman Flyaway High Low Tank: $21.90 ($34 after sale); and Vince Silk Sheer Silk Blouse $179.90 ($275 after sale).

click image for sources

click image for sources

Leather details and oxblood are still going to be trends this fall, but this DVF dress is timeless - from left: Donna Morgan Faux Leather and Crepe dress: $104.90 ($158 after sale); Diane von Furstenberg New Jeanne 2 Silk Wrap dress: $239.90 ($365 after sale); BB Dakota Simon Faux Leather Dress: $58.90 ($88 after sale).

click image for sources

click image for sources

And here are a few that will have to wait a couple of months to move into the rotation, at least if you live here in St. Louis - clockwise from top left: Trina Turk Double Breasted Officer's Coat: $359.90 ($545 after sale); Autumn Cashmere Back Zip Sweater: $189 ($310 after sale); Ted Baker Wool Blend Peplum Coat: $279.90 ($420 after sale); and Chloe K Beaded Shoulder Sweatshirt: $27.90 ($42 after sale).

I've already made one purchase from the sale (any guesses which of the items above?) - will you make any?

 

PS Don't forget to like the mindful closet Facebook page for more sale info like this!