Happy Monday, Everyone! Now that fall is just around the corner it only means one thing: (school) shopping season! I wanted to hold off until right around this time, before blogging about this, because it’s worth the wait with the sales coming up in the next week or two, with Labor Day always being the perfect time to get out there and purchase your transitional summer-to fall, wear (helpful hint: best months to shop are always January, May, August, and October).
For those of you that don’t already know, I am a teacher by day, so my summer vacation officially ends in about two weeks…but I do plan on continuing to blog twice a week. However, in a about a week or two, I am going to start chronicling what outfits I wear on a daily basis (if I can recall, I will also share how much each item I am wearing costs, and where I found them). If you follow me on Instagram (@daniellepiel), you will see the outfits daily (sort of like an “#OOTD” post), but if you’re not on Instagram, I will be compiling my favorite weekly looks on my blog. My second post of each week will continue discussing lifestyle. Lastly, once a month, I have been asked by The Times Union blogger of “The Cat’s Pajamas,” Brian Huba to partner up with him, and share a “Fashion Monday” post with you. I’m so excited about this opportunity, and it wouldn’t be without the tremendous support I have received in the past month, that has helped lead me on this journey! If there is anyone that would like to team-up, I would be more than honored to work with you as well! My aim for this blog is not only to share what I love about Fashion and Lifestyle, but to support other hard-working individuals that do what they love! So please, email me!
For this post, I decided to take everyone on a little shopping trip with me while I begin creating my transitional summer to fall wardrobe. I figured, why not take you all into the dressing rooms with me and see how I piece together outfits, before making the decision on whether or not they will make it home to my closet, only to be mixed and matched with other articles of clothing? What I learned through this process (and HIGHLY recommend), was actually taking a picture of yourself in whatever it is that you try on-that is, if you’re indecisive about whether or not it looks good on you. It’s funny, I always have my phone on me, but never really considered the thought of taking selfies in a dressing room (sounds pretentious, I know…), but it really helps with the “Yay or Nay?” process!
Below is a list of the shops I mainly go to when purchasing my clothes in-store verses online (in no particular order):
J. Crew Factory-(You won’t see their clothing in the pictures below, because the closest Factory is an hour away from me, and I usually wait until Labor Day weekend to get some GREAT fall sales!) 90% of the time I shop there, they usually have a 40% off or more on everything. If not, they also give out a discount card; get it stamped on three different occasions when you make a purchase, and you will receive 40% off that third purchase. If they stopped with the “stamp” promotion, prove you work as a teacher, or are currently a student, and receive 15% off your purchase. I can’t wait to see what they have in store next week!!! I will keep you posted!
Gap and Gap Factory– I would say about 1/2 my wardrobe consists of this company’s brand. Never, have I ever gone into one and paid full price for what I’ve bought. Helpful hint: sign up with their email, and automatically they start sending you coupons by the day! Not to mention, when you get a receipt from them, fill out the survey they leave you (takes about 3-5 minutes), and they give you 15% off your next purchase. I just went to Gap Factory last week, purchased about $200 dollars worth of clothing and shoes for the fam, and only ended up spending about $70 after all of my discounts (I had a coupon, plus the store was up to 70% off everything), and then I received $50 in “Gap Cash,” which I can redeem in October, just in time for layering season! Score!
H&M–When this store first opened in my area 15 years ago, I thought I died and went to fashion heaven! For a college student at the time, and living on a very frugal budget, I found that not only did they have decent quality clothing at an affordable price, but the variety was so helpful for those that love to be creative with their style-I love it! Last year around this time, they had a 20% off discount for teachers, which I did not see yet when I went in this week, but if you have not already done so-download the app “RETAIL ME NOT”. Your entire purchase until Sept. 7th is 20% off! They are also advertising a new promotion (H&M Conscious Foundation), where if you bring in any used clothing or textiles (I don’t believe it has to be their brand), they will give you a 15% off coupon.
Ann Taylor Loft–Great quality clothing, perfect for work or play, and again, I never shop there without an additional sale. I never sign-up for store credit cards, but for Ann Taylor, I caved. Right away I received a HUGE discount off my purchase, and every so often, they send me coupons in the mail, and they also reward you during your Birthday month (and, yes, they are also in partnership with “Retail Me Not”). Like J. Crew Factory, they always have a promotion going on, and they also cater to Government Employees. However, I wait until Labor Day weekend to stop in and make my purchases.
Banana Republic-I can’t think of a single person that doesn’t drool over their clothing, however…their prices can be a bit outrageous, that’s why I have to be a tad bit prudent when it comes to shopping there. I strictly stick to “end of season” sales. I can also promise you, come December 26th, I am one of the very first customers to walk through their doors with open arms and leave with some heavy baggage!
Old Navy-Even though they’ve technically only been around for roughly 20 years, I find them to be an oldie, but a goodie. They are always running sales, “Retail Me Not” sometimes shares some additional mark-downs, and there’s always a vast variety of clearance clothing, shoes and accessories. When I purchased some of my beachwear for my post on “Soakin’ up the Sun,” I received $10 in Old Navy cash if I spend $25 the week of September 6th. As a bonus, they started a fitness line with versatile styles and fits for everyone-not to mention, their ” Jumbo Bouncy Ball” dispenser at one of our local stores, which is enough to bribe both of my children in…for 25 cents a ball, what’s there to argue?!?
Forever 21– I thought my relationship would end with this store once I graduated college, but for some reason, this season, I love the versatile styles they have! Usually I shop at Forever 21 if I want something that is currently “trending” and I know there’s a possibility I won’t be wearing it the following year, only because it’s affordable, but affordability comes with a price-not the best quality. So I usually stick with purchasing my accessories from here. That way if I lose them, break them, or get extreme wear and tear, I don’t feel guilty about it! These are one of those store that regardless if there’s a sale or not (usually you can get online discounts from “Retail Me Not”, but not so much in-store ones), they’re so reasonable, I don’t mind spending the full price! Not to mention…I have to admit, I really like this season’s collection!
Express- I don’t usually shop at Express, but once in awhile I do find myself being sucked in by the sale signs…this season, they have a beautiful (faux) leather jacket that I am keeping my eye on. I don’t want to spend $130 on it just yet, and considering I won’t need it for a few more months, I am going to wait patiently…They also have seasonal sales, and right now there Are multiple sales on everything from jeans, to sweaters, to additional discounts on clearance-Don’t forget “Retail Me Not”, they have a coupon right now, and if you sign up with Express, they will also send you coupons.
Marshall’s–This is hit or miss with me, but it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t incorporate them in my shopping destinations! If you can’t find what you’re looking for clothing wise, I think they have extremely generous sales on Women’s shoes…and this is primarily where I purchase my workout gear…
Target- Although they usually sell decent quality clothing that can hold up for years if you treat them with some TLC, their prices are also affordable. I found a few cute pieces there in the past two weeks, but again, when it comes to additional sales, check out weekly newspaper flyers, “Retail Me Not” or their clearance section. What I believe was one of their most genius marketing moves was partnering with high-profile designers to give you upscale products at Target’s price (Lily Pulitzer and Isaac Mizrahi, to name a few).
So, here’s my “Dressing Room Photo Diary” of some of the pieces I was able to put together at some of the stores over the past two weeks. I do have to say, this was a CHALLENGE! I usually go into clothing stores, to try on different pieces that would work with other articles I have already purchased, and not necessarily from the same store, or during the same season…so I really did what I could to find pieces that I genuinely liked, and merged them together.
MY GOAL: Find affordable pieces, that could be worn at work or play, that are also practical for the early fall months. This was exceptionally hard when I had to avoid layering, because that is my favorite way to dress in cooler months-but I was on a mission to show you some of my finds, to wear or use as inspiration for September.
*Please keep in mind, these are Dressing Rooms, so I was unable to bring in any accessories (Jewelry, belts, bags or shoes, to help complete the look-so keep an “open mind!”)
Take a look, and don’t mind the little girl making a cameo in some of the pictures, she’s my shopping partner-in-crime. Thank goodness I finally had a girl to share my love of clothes shopping with, because oddly enough, the boys at home just don’t seem to get it!
H&M (Can you tell which store I’m enjoying this season…?):
I hope you were able to find some inspiration with these pieces! I am looking forward to showing you how I truly mix and match these up with other components from my personal closet.
What great buys have you found during this month of sale madness? Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (@daniellepiel), Facebook (Danielle Piel), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or leave a comment below! I love hearing your feedback!