Dress for (A Lot!) Less

Ladies, I know that we all have mixed feelings about super-cheap apparel. It takes a skilled fashion eye to spot potential, a gift with accessorizing to pull it off, and a leap of faith to give it a go. Just remember: The key to wearing cheap apparel is to layer and accessorize with skill.

There are rewards to developing the skills needed to make cheapo clothes work great for you. Besides saving money, bargain shopping and low-end fashion develops your creativity and personal style. Keep in mind that many of the iconic, hot fashion trends started from just such humble backgrounds. The truth is that high end fashion typically steals ideas from the genius creativity of the so-called plebeians.

It’s also somewhat of a myth that all cheap fashion is, well, cheap and going to fall apart. A lot depends on the type of garment and fabric, and the use you intend to make of it. For example, some of the sturdiest clothing you’ll find for casual wear is inexpensive boy’s apparel, if it will fit you. Boy’s sneakers and other casual footwear can easily be found for a low price. Boy’s shoes tend to be designed to fit wider than a typical American women’s shoe as well. The size is 2 numbers less than your women’s shoe size. For example, if you wear a women’s size 8 shoe, you will wear a boys’ or men’s size 6. If you’re petite, you’ll also be able to score well-made bargains in the boy’s department, especially coats and blazers, which will often be of higher quality than what is available in the petite women’s departments.

There are two common schools of thought when it comes to assembling one’s wardrobe with cost in mind:

  1.  Invest in the best accessories you can afford, such as shoes and handbags, and go cheap on the clothes, so that you can change wardrobes frequently to suit your mood, lifestyle, or seasonal fashion fads; OR
  2. Pretty much just the opposite. That is, invest in the best clothing you can afford to build a core wardrobe that will last you a long time, and cheap out on faddish accessories to change up your look.

Which method you should use depends on you. I know people who hate to shop, and prefer to maintain a core wardrobe of simple, reliable items that they can fancy up with a few changes in accessories now and then. And I know other people that would go stir-crazy if you forced them to adhere to a core wardrobe for the next 20 years, and who like to collect awesome signature accessories to dress up their clothing bargains.

The thing is, if you’re on a tight budget, that doesn’t mean you don’t still have to get dressed. Not everyone has access to hip thrift stores with stock suitable for their needs at affordable prices. “Thrift” stores aren’t as thrifty as they used to be. Places like Walmart and Target offer some basics and have been exploring the addition of more fashionable options, but the offerings tend to focus on very casual apparel.

Let us consider the dresses on offer at Amazon.com by merchants such as Crazy Girls / ZJ Clothes.

Amazingly, many of these dresses can be purchased for as little as $1.51. Or $2.33. Or $3.85. Even the “high end” dresses from Crazy Girls are usually under $20, and many are available in the $12 range. Price varies in relation to style and size. Some sellers on Amazon offer free shipping but, even if not, you still can score incredible bargains easily.

This company’s dresses earn high favorable reviews. The negative reviews tend to result from ordering the wrong size or not understanding, for example, that a “midi” length dress has a hem that goes past the knees. Most reviewers cite accurate sizing, comfort, flattering form-fitting design, and nice colors.

The company is known for producing body-conscious dresses in clean, simple, classic lines, available in a great many colors and patterns. Different sleeve lengths are available. Depending upon your feeling about your figure, you might like wearing supportive undergarments with these kinds of dresses. The close fit makes them great for layering and accessorizing, which is a key factor and prime method of dressing up a bargain priced dress. Below are a few examples.

Simple Adaptable Dress for Under 4 Dollars
Simple Adaptable Dress for Under 4 Dollars

An audacious, but classic lined dress is adaptable and practical. In seemingly endless pretty and fun pattern options, you could create a week’s wardrobe for work, date night, and church for practically nothing.

This iconic, rather Dom “wet-look” short-sleeved option with a boat neck is $3.85 in size 6/8, or $9 in size 10/12 through size 20/22. Shipping is only $2.99. You could wear practically any accessory, blazer, coat, shoes, sweater, bag, hat, and hairstyle with this, and create endless distinctive, different looks. It also comes in a long-sleeved version for only $12, nearly as versatile.

Aztec Beige Dress for 12 Dollars
Aztec Beige Dress for 12 Dollars

The neutral-toned “Aztec Beige” long-sleeved dress, for $12, is a tapestry of patterns with horizontal lines cleverly placed to best flatter one’s figure. This design doesn’t scream “Aztec” and it would work easily for those who admire Renaissance, Tibetan, East Indian, African, Middle Eastern, Folkloric, and a number of other evocatively rich embellished apparel traditions. It also comes in a Teal/Black option with a Cobalt Nordic vibe, or a romantic Wine/Black option, reminiscent of Spanish fashion icons.

Day Of The Dead Dress
Day Of The Dead Dress

I’m not much into skull imagery, beyond the historically viable pirate loot. But unless you’re planning to dress up in costume, you won’t find a better dress for Day Of The Dead events than this long-sleeved version, at only $17. This dress reminds me of the popular fad in adult coloring books. I’m unsure if the fabric is suitable for coloring, but you could experiment with fabric paint. Use the traditional bright colors featured on the Day Of The Dead holiday, or perhaps try a mix of metallics.

Another useful basic style by Crazy Girl is a simple cap sleeved dress with a scoop neck. It is available in 18 different colors. To show you how easy it would be to create an uber cheap basic wardrobe, here is a week’s worth of colors suitable for the office; a bright “Date Night” color for the weekend; and a pretty option for temple or church:

Start Monday off with a Pop of Bright Cheery Color
Start Monday off with a Pop of Bright Cheery Color

 

 

Tuesday, Sleek Navy Gets Down to Business
Tuesday, Sleek Navy Gets Down to Business
Wednesday Go Neutral to Feature Accessories
Wednesday Go Neutral to Feature Accessories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday Pretty Professional Royal Blue for Client Meetings
Thursday Pretty Professional Royal Blue for Client Meetings
Friday Wine For Work to Evening Flexibility
Friday Wine For Work to Evening Flexibility
Date Night Red
Date Night Red

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revive Your Spirit at Church or Temple
Revive Your Spirit at Church or Temple

What would this entire wardrobe of seven dresses cost? Including shipping, you’d pay only $53.20 (for size 10/12). Right now the company is even offering a 5% discount for orders of 10 or more items. (That could give you in addition a feminine Pink or Coral dress for shopping and museum hopping with the girls; a Little Black Dress; and a spare in White for anything and everything.) Each dress is only $2.95 (in size 10/12), and the shipping is $4.65 each. (Note that shipping costs vary depending on the dress style.) This breaks down to $7.60 per dress, an incredible bargain especially for such basic styles that spark your style creativity.

Because you are buying online, I don’t recommend splurging on seven dresses the first time you order from a company. Just buy one. Make sure the size, fit, color, quality, and company service are all pleasing to you. Then go back and stock up.

This method of dressing, especially for the work week, is really worth trying if you haven’t given the “uniform” approach a go yet. Dresses are faster and easier than pants and tops, and give you a sleek, coordinated look without fuss. Because you use different colors and add different accessories, you don’t feel like you are wearing an actual uniform, yet you get the no-stress benefits of quick and easy pre-planned dressing. No more hassles every morning wondering what to wear. Get your set of work dresses, decide how you’ll accessorize each one, and that’s done. You’ll maximize the style and comfort of your look by pre-planning and be ready in a flash every day. Time is money so you’ll save even more!

And now for a tip about accessories and cosmetics. Where can you buy these for only ONE DOLLAR? ShopMissA is a trusted and popular online store based in Texas in the USA. They are so popular, in fact, that many items sell out quickly, so it’s not a bad idea to get on their email list. Now, I’m not going to say that every $1 accessory on this website is awesome. However, you can find some fun doable pieces, and the cosmetics and cosmetic tools are especially a bargain. Many of these items can be found for much higher prices at other online and brick-and-mortar stores. ShopMissA has a good reputation for reliable service, and they participate in animal charities as well! (And no worries, none of the cosmetics they carry are tested on animals.)

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *