Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wicked Thrifty Shopping Spree: Arsenal Mall

It's been a long, long time since we set foot in a mall. Secondhand only, for a long while. Too long a while. Kiddo was at a birthday party this fine chilly Saturday afternoon, and with no fiance around to complain about the browsing time in the clearance section, it was an ideal shopping day. The Arsenal Mall in Watertown, run by the Simon company like many of the Boston area malls, is certainly not the highest-end nor classiest shopping center, but it has a couple of our favorite discount stores, and we could walk to it. Theoretically. If it weren't freezing out.

The elusive grey boot we found at Famous Footwear (finally!!!). Amiclubwear never sent the suede we ordered, but did send a refund. Sigh. These Steve Maddens were in the clearance section, a bit steep at $40, but we had a $10 off rewards coupon, so really $30:

Another view:


In order to qualify for the $10 off we did have to find another pair to get us up to $50, and we spotted these quite-unlike-anything-we've-ever-had cone-heeled brogue-inspired lace-up slingbacks by Hot Kiss for $15:

They're a little bit Fleuvog-y and librarian-nerdy without being too over the top with the crazy heel-- this one is a bit more timeless and less daring. Love the classic slingback shape and wingtip detail, and the hidden platform. They seem very comfortable, too-- we'll see after a long day hustling around managing an office!

Filene's Basement was a treasure trove for us today...

How about a gorgeous fall coat for $7.76??


Ahhh... favorite colors, long-beloved pattern, cheaper than a skein of the poly/wool blend yarn it's made of... yes, please. Thank you, clearance goddesses.

Also, a divine teal float-away hem cardigan by Energie for $4.16!

This silhouette seems to do really well for camouflaging a bit of a mommy belly. Necessary sometimes.

Going with the bright theme, we couldn't resist this hanging-out-at-home top by Seven in a sheer hot pink cotton/poly blend with burnout velvet detail, at $3.19:

We also picked up some incredibly comfortable jeans in a deep aubergine heathered denim. So soft, so perfect a fit-- wow. They're a bit high-waisted compared to most modern jeans, and that seems to be the idea-- they're Not Your Daughter's Jeans brand, $11.96 No low-rise. But they're not really mom jeans either-- they're crazy comfortable but fairly flattering-- no major pooch. They have some kind of space-age flattening mechanism up front. Woot! .

Following the one-in, one-out theory (well, maybe not precisely, but in this case), we're going to toss (Goodwill bag) the $10 bright purple jeans from Metrostyle ordered not too long ago, which we really never wear. This is a much lovelier shade of purple and more flattering cut.

This lace tunic from DKNYC was marked down to a criminally low $6.79, down from MSRP $90, so even if we don't wear it and end up cutting it up and refashioning it for Edge of Seventeen, it was a good investment piece:


From the clearance bin, some gorgeous tights-- purple butterfly-embroidered fishnets, $7.98, and 2 pairs of footless opaque for $5.96:

Then, on to Marshalls, where we found another long-coveted item (joy!), the black-and-white patterned cardigan, also in a float-away hem, by Kenar, $20:

...and also a great black tiered lacy sequined gypsy skirt by Max Studio that will most certainly be re-used to create something fabulous, for $7, which did not photograph at all, sadly.

Lastly, we finally gave in (though we weep inside) to the whole granny-panty-shaper-thing that Trinny and Suzannah (of the BBC's What Not To Wear) advocate. We have a couple of shorts-shapers, but what the hell, we'll give the Spanx-type panties a try. We reserve the right to not throw out all of our lovely matching bikini/bra sets just yet :( (It seems a bit extreme). Leopard $3.99, by Native Intimates "Confident and Beautiful," Black $7.99 each, by Maidenform.

We hope this isn't too bad for the soul, owning unattractive undergarments. At least they're not white or nude. And as the girls say in "What You Wear Can Change Your Life," while seduction is not a possibility whilst wearing these, they can be whisked off in the bathroom, and the mere mention of negatory (we coined it) knickers is likely to send any potential man-friends into a swoon that will incapacitate them from noticing any potential lumps and bumps under your dress ;)

Incidentally, a wickedly-figured Spanish chick saw us browsing the shapers (she was a customer, not an employee) and basically told us, with gestures and "Comprendo, Si?" which ones to get that would help with the muffin top. With-- um, demonstrations. On both of us. Erg. She was super nice, though... but she did pull up her shirt, and pull the waistband of her leggings to reveal that she, too, was wearing said shapewear and did not in fact just come into this world rocking flawless curves. Thank you, senorita!

Total shopping high!!! Some major wardrobe holes filled, some potential creations underway, and a few staples and long-coveted items gotten for a ridiculously low price. Lower than Goodwill, much of it.

We were sad to not have a chance to hit the new-ish 2-floor F21 nor the brand-new Ann Taylor Loft Factory Store (!)... But... next time....

Hope you had some great bargains this weekend if you went shopping!

Tell us all about them if you did!

If you're from or have visited the area, have you been to the Arsenal Mall? What do you think?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Today's Thrifty Treasures

Today's finds are brought to you by the local Goodwill. We've been looking pretty much every week, just in case someone gives away a gorgeous skirt suit that is not in a "teeny" (seems rare). Didn't find anything in that department today-- although there was ONE petite suit, it had the strangest pants- they zipped in the back (?) and definitely gave us a penguin crotch situation. No good.

But, thankfully, we didn't come away empty-handed, as the jacket rack presented us with a decent find (we're always on the lookout for bright blazers with more than one button and not totally-80s-styling, which are often hard to come by!) in one of our favorite colors:

The buttons are silver-toned with a great funky crest pattern. Love the cut-outs at the bottom! Yay. It's polyester (microfiber) which we kind of hate, but eh, for this color we made an exception. It'll go with tons of stuff we already have and add another bright piece to our awfully-black professional wardrobe for $6.49.

Second score:

Polish cobalt-and-clear bowl, clearly never used, only $5. We have a real thing for cobalt glass and have been starting a wee collection. One can never have too many mixing/fruit/decorative bowls, can one?

The last thing we'd like to discuss today is not exactly thrifted, but bears mentioning. Lately we've been trying to keep the nails painted, but it goes from professional to scary pretty quick since we have nearly no patience for waiting for them to dry and certainly not for a topcoat, so they begin to peel pretty quick. Enter, for our waiting-phobic pleasure, Sally Hansen Insta-Dry polish. Seriously, no kidding, we grabbed some remover and a gorgeous orchid purple called Lovely Lilac and headed into the work bathroom, from which we emerged not five minutes later with dry-enough-to-type, perfectly smooth and even nails. Two coats. Less than five minutes (a lot of that time was taking off the stubborn chips of the last attempt). The longevity is yet to be tested, but it's still going strong after a long day on the computer. Highly, highly worth the sort-of-exorbitant-for-nail-polish price of $6-7.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fashion Book Review: Dress Smart Women

The used bookstore is the best place to spend a lunch break besides Goodwill, if you ask us. So many lovely tomes at half price or less... Delicious! One of the most fun sections to browse in our local shop is Fashion. As you know if you've been reading, a major challenge of late has been the adjustment of trying to look more professional (and sadly, less young/punk/hippie/fun) in the workplace. While obviously anyone can put on a twinset and pearls or a suit and white button-down, we are seeking ways to put forth a confidence-inspiring facade while still retaining a significant amount of personality (i.e. you'll never catch us dead in a navy double-breasted skirt suit, no matter how "professional" it may be). So we were excited to find this guide, called Chic Simple Dress Smart Women: Wardrobes that Win in the New Workplace.

We've had some good scores at Goodwill since reading the book-- unfortunately no suits, but some great wool pencil skirts, blazers and blouses that are much more professional than what we usually wear. Which prompted a VP to ask if it was "for Halloween." AUGH. Here are a couple of the looks:

Of course we didn't pay any of this ridiculousness. All from Goodwill except tights and shoes (purple- Payless; black- Famous Footwear.) and striped shirt (which has more pinky purple in it- from Kohl's?)

(Oh, yeah, and we lopped off 6-8 inches of curls in favor of an angled bob that has to be flat-ironed every day or put up. Madness. But, on the other hand, it's far more polished than the long hippie chick curls we were rocking.)

The idea is classic and still feminine, more serious than sexy (this can be difficult when you have DDs, as Suzannah of what not to wear points out), while trying not to lose too much of "us". While we lament the fact that purple hair and multiple piercings just don't get taken seriously in an office, even an academic-ish office, (sigh. Miss the lip ring.), it's clear that something had to be done to up the game, because much of our wardrobe came from the juniors section at Filene's Basement or the Vicky's catalog and it's a little bit tooo sexy (or just plain tight).

This book's philosophy is to pare your wardrobe down to essentials and accent pieces instead of buying a whole bunch of crap you're not going to be able to-- or probably shouldn't-- wear.

They suggest four suits as the basis for a full wardrobe, while fully acknowledging that many of us can definitely not afford that to start. Nevertheless, thrifting is mentioned as an alternative to buying new, expensive suits. We hope that the days of "ew, someone else wore that" are gone as we move in to attempted-planet-saving mode!

Happy thrifting and reading!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Name

Hello lovely readers!

Just wanted to beg and plead that you switch your reader and (hopefully!) your blogroll over to the new url:!

We haven't actually moved but who knows how the redirect will work.

So... why?
If you're not from Boston, you may not know "wicked" as a synonym for "totally" or "absolutely." But really, it is. And a great one at that. ...And then there's the whole us being kind of a recovering goth, witchy type (think Stevie Nicks... and stay tuned for news about our new planned Etsy endeavors!) ...And also the matter of the lovely blonde Swede-in-California publishing under nearly the same name, a few months before this one.

So there was an epiphany, and it just made sense.

The focus of the blog will remain on beautiful clothes under $30, but we may switch it up a bit with some more home posts like this one and also about our decluttering process when the fiance moves in in May, along with some ideas and recipes for eating non-factory-farmed food and organic when possible without killing your food budget. Lots of tasty treats.

Hope you stay with the blog. Thanks for your comments- they mean so much!

Please take the poll on the right, just to satisfy curiosity ;) Thanks!


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