Fashion on a Budget for Special Occasion Outfits-Ageless Style

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Today’s theme for our Ageless style group is one that is near and dear to my heart. Amy titled it “Fashion on a budget” and that’s exactly what my site is all about.
There are so many ways to keep our fashion choices affordable even if you are trying to be more sustainable in your shopping habits.

I won’t be discussing all of the things we do, but I will focus on one aspect and then give some insider tidbits in case you want more.

If you are reading this from MSN’s page, then click here to see all of the photos.

Quote of the day: “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Evelyn Beatrice Hall

Fashion on a budget
Thrift Stores
Secondhand dress for a vacation
Thrifted skirt for a special occasion
Preloved dress for a “Dress to the Nines” Affair
Tips when shopping the thrift stores
Retail Stores
Tricks to make shopping affordable
Your closet
Shopping in your own closet

The quote is powerful because it reiterates the right that we all have a different opinion that is valuable. Because in style and fashion I believe there is no right and wrong. It’s truly a method of self expression and depending on the occasion, can be interpreted in so many ways.

For instance when we are discussing fashion on a budget, many women will point out that buying quality is the way to go because the pieces will last longer. Even though I, personally, don’t do this, I think it can be valid for certain people and situations.
Some women think secondhand shopping is dreadful, while I consider it a treasure hunt.

Thrifting for special occasions as fashion on a budget

The true takeaway is that we are all unique creatures, and thus our opinions should be unique too.

The ageless style idea of fashion on a budget came at the perfect time. This is because I also had a request from one of my readers, Jeannie, to find special occasion items while thrifting.
So I thought I would show you items we each found outside of Goodwill and then how we styled them with what we already had at home.

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Fashion on a Budget with Thrift or Secondhand Shopping

The idea of shopping secondhand is such a good way to buy clothes for those times when you might not wear the piece all that much. That’s why I loved Jeannie’s idea of shopping for special occasions this way.

Heck, don’t laugh but you could even find a wedding gown this way, and think of how much money you would save.
Am I the only one that thinks it’s a shame we buy a wedding dress and it never sees the light of day again? (In fact, that’s one of the reasons I wore my stepmom’s wedding dress when I married Rob as seen in this post)

So for purposes of this idea of fashion on a budget and thrifting for special occasions, the three of us shopped for vacation, a dress-up event, and as a guest at a formal anniversary party.

Charlotte: Secondhand Dress for a Vacation

When plans of vacation roll around, I know many women who feel the need to buy a new outfit (or two). Especially if your vacation includes a tropical location, it makes sense that you want items that give off a summer vibe.

Related posts:
Resort wear with alternative looks
Resort wear for older women

That’s why finding a great maxi dress could be the item you need. My mom picked up this white floral dress that had never been worn since it still had its tags on it.
BTW, the dress was under $13.

Women over 80 shopping special occasion outfits at Goodwill

Why a Maxi for Vacation?

You might think a longer dress like this is too dressy, but I think you could make it more casual very easily. Add a pair of flat sandals and heck, you could even make it work as a swimsuit cover-up. My mom is wearing this dress with heels for the evening out.

A dress is easy for vacation because you don’t have to think about if the top goes with the bottom portion. It’s one and done as the young kids say!

You might think the flowy shape of this type of maxi is unflattering, but I think we put too much emphasis on flattering sometimes.
Isn’t vacation the time you want to be more laid back and not worry about something tight and constrictive??

Besides, I think the colors and print of this are what catch your eye and make it look fabulous.

Accessories for a Night Out

Since Charlotte styled this for an evening out, she wore her pearl earrings. She also grabbed jewelry that has been in her collection for ages.

The purse my mom picked up at the gift shop at a hospital years ago.

Insider tip: That’s another trick to finding fashion on a budget. Don’t pass up the chance to check out all kinds of gift shops because they can have wonderful items for a good deal.

This is another great reason for a print maxi like this for your vacation style. You really don’t need a lot of accessories or extras because the dress is full of personality on its own.

Floral dress found at secondhand store

Jodie: Thrifted Skirt for a Special Occasion

No, you don’t have to wear a skirt or dress for a special occasion, but in our hot summers here in Arizona, it’s usually more comfortable.

Yet if you would rather wear pants, we did blog about that earlier in the year:
1-Dressy pants outfit
2-Wearing pants to a wedding
3-Ideas for styling pants for formal occasions

I found this bubble skirt for $1 at Goodwill on this trip. The material is brocade and stretchy. Even though it’s a heavy-weight material, because it doesn’t touch my body except on my waist, it was cooler than I thought.

Truthfully, I wouldn’t have thought to get this type of skirt except that I saw the label was Anthropologie and the fact it was only $1. I figured even if I only wore it a couple of times, I would get my money’s worth.

After I styled the skirt and wore it for this day, I have to admit, that I really loved it. To me, that’s proof that many times we need to try new things and not judge items too soon.

What to Wear with a Bubble Skirt

When I style something the first time, I usually go with the safe bet. For example, with such a voluminous skirt, I wore a cami tucked in and somewhat fitted.
Even my topper for the look was cropped so it wouldn’t compete with the bubble skirt.

The cami is one that I DIYed myself from a maxi dress. The dress was too long originally, so I cut it in half and made it into a skirt and top. Here is when I wore the matching skirt.

BTW, this topper was a steal at my favorite local boutique. Unfortunately, that means it’s not available to all of you reading this. However, make sure to check out her online store (which has different items than the brick & mortar store) because you can use the code Jtouch15 for 15% off.

Accessories for Fashion on a Budget

The thrifted skirt seemed to need a little bling, so I added a trusty brooch to the waistline. Using pins this way has been my favorite way to style brooches lately. They add some bling without being heavy and hot during the summer.

The shoes and one of the bracelets is also secondhand. In fact, I shared 5 different vibes of outfits that could be worn with these peep-toe shoes.

Related post: Tips about thrifting shoes

Finding fashion on a budget by shopping smart

Lesley: Preloved Dress for Fancy

Lesley shares that she has some dear friends celebrating their 50th anniversary and is requesting that guests come “dressed to the nines.”

Lesley also shared: “I haven’t worn a long “evening” gown except as a costume for SOOOO long, that when I found this dress while shopping at Goodwill, I knew it was me! The bare shoulder style is way off of my radar, and even though I couldn’t try it on in the store, I decided to give it a try. It was under $15, so I figured the risk was minimal.
When I got home and put it on, I was shocked to find that it fit perfectly AND was totally me!! With the ruching in front, it hides my frontal fluff and the back view is fantastic.”

Insider tip: If you need a dress that is out of your normal, then thrifting is the perfect way to get it and not feel guilty for spending a lot of money on something you may only wear once or twice.
Another option is to rent a dress which I’ve discussed here.

Finding special dresses at thrift stores

Why You Should Buy the Dress

How many times have you looked at something you like in the store, and said “where would I wear that?” Well, let me just say, you’re not going to wear it anywhere unless you buy it! Haha.

But that “where would I wear it” type of reasoning of not already having an occasion scheduled isn’t always beneficial. Because you’re going to have special occasions come up in life. Weddings, anniversary parties, galas, and other such fun. And when you get the invitation, it is a TON less stressful, if you already have some wonderful options in your closet.

Now, most of you are pooh-poohing that idea with sentences like “but I don’t have room for stuff I won’t wear” or “but it will just sit in my closet.”
I will say that you shouldn’t buy a ton of special event things, but one or two is not going to take up that much room. Besides, I always think you could even wear your special items every day if you get creative enough.

For example with Lesley’s one-shoulder dress, she could layer a chunky sweater over it and put on sneakers, and be wearing a maxi skirt outfit. I know most of you think I’m crazy with these ideas, but why not??

Accessories for a One-Shoulder Dress

I’m in love with the idea of wearing a brooch at the shoulder portion of this dress. If that isn’t the best way to wear a brooch in summer, then I don’t know what is!

Lesley may have found some matching shoes at Goodwill (see the photo of the dress in front of the brick wall), but she ended up wearing her rhinestone-decorated sandals from Walking Cradles instead. This style of sandal is called the Lettie-2 and there are still a couple of pairs available depending on your size.

Related post: These sandals worn in wintertime

And this tiny, tiny purse is called a finger ring purse. Lesley’s grandmother once said that a lady never goes out without having a hanky, a lipstick, and a dime (phone call money) in her purse. That may not work in this day and age with our smart phones, but it’s funny to think about.

Women over 70 sexy fashion on a budget

Tips When Shopping the Thrift Stores

I have written about thrifting tips in the past, and I continue to learn about other tips the more and more I shop at these secondhand stores.

One secret to finding some of the best deals and pieces is to make sure to have a good amount of time when you are shopping. Sure, you can pop in for 5 minutes and you still might find something. But here’s the thing, it’s a search and rescue approach that makes it more successful.

What do I mean by that? You’re really better off, looking through every piece of clothing that is on the rack. EVEN the items not in your size. Plus, you can find some fabulous items in the men’s and children’s sections too.

Here are some reasons why I look in all of the sizes:
1-Sizing is VERY inconsistent. Even though I wear an XS in many items, I have bought medium and large things from time to time. Sometimes it’s because they are vintage pieces and sized differently. Other times it’s because I want a different silhouette.

Insider tip: Do you like Chico’s brand clothing? If so, you know how they are sized with a totally different system. Not all employees at the secondhand stores realize this, and I find many size 3s in the smalls or junior sizing.

2-Items can be placed in the wrong section. I know some will say that customers do this on purpose if they want to come back and get something later. No matter what, things can get misplaced.
3-There are times that the size of the garment doesn’t matter at all. For instance, I have bought items just for their buttons. Or you could DIY something a million different ways.

Insider tip: If you are a DIYer, then you will love the tutorials on Upstyle Daily.

Retail Tricks for Fashion on a Budget

If you aren’t someone who embraces secondhand, then there are just as many ways to be fashionable and not spend a ton of money.

Here are just a couple of ideas, but feel free to share your secrets too.
1-If you are searching online, then you might want to put it in your cart and leave the site. Many sites will email you a discount code so that you will buy what is in your cart.
2-For the widgets of clothing items I share in my posts, you can click the heart below the item, and you will be notified when the price drops.
3-Many stores have their own credit cards that will allow you to earn points with your purchases. For example, I have a Banana Republic credit card and can use my points at Old Navy, Gap, Athleta along with the Banana Republic. I can’t tell you how many things I have bought for under $5 by using my points.

Shopping Your Own Closet

Nothing saves more money than not spending any in the first place. Most of the time we already have many wonderful clothes in our closet. While they may not be “new”, we can certainly combine them in different ways to make an outfit seem fresh and fun.

I have shared 3 different methods for shopping in our closet and making what we have work in different ways.
1-Mixing color
2-How to change up your pieces
3-Switch things up

And if you follow me regularly, I think I do a great job of trying to wear a variety of elements, especially in my Daily Outfit posts.

Insider tip: Our issues with trying new things with clothing are all in our heads. We worry that it may not be right or that we will look silly. Let’s just start having fun with our style and being more like a kid!! Or as your mom would always say, “try it, you’ll like it.”

Special occasion outfits from secondhand stores

The Ageless Style Group & Fashion on a Budget

This group of women is ageless in their style and ideas, so I hope you give them all a gander and see how they approach the idea of fashion on a budget. It’s not all about secondhand shopping.
Make sure to check back if their post isn’t up yet because we don’t all post at the same time.

Amy ~ Amy’s Creative Pursuits
Blog | Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook |
Cathy ~ My Side of 50
Blog / InstagramPinterest / Facebook
Joanne ~ My Slice of Life
Jodie ~ Jodie’s Touch of Style
Blog | Instagram | Facebook |
Leslie ~ Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After
Blog | Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook |
Marsha~ Marsha in the Middle
Blog /Instagram
Mireille ~ Chez Mireille Fashion Travel Mom
Blog | Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook |
Rosemary ~ Distinctly Southern Style
Blog / Instagram / Pinterest / Facebook

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