Second Hand Challenge

I don’t like to spend a lot of money on my work clothes-well, on most clothing in general. When I was gaining weight, I especially didn’t want to go to the mall or a department store and spend a lot on clothing. I didn’t feel good about myself and no amount of name brand fashion was going to help that. Then I started to lose weight and didn’t want to spend a lot on my shrinking sizes until I got closer to my goal.

And, well, I just love thrift store shopping. It’s a challenge and it’s thrilling. There is nothing better than finding beautiful and expensive items at a fraction of the cost—or even finding super unique and fun things for around the house. I’ve inserted stopping by my local Goodwill as a part of my weekend routine before I grab groceries. Some days I have specific items in mind—those are my quick trips, while other days I am ready to go through every rack until I find the things I didn’t know I was looking for.

Lately I have been complimented a lot on my clothing and asked where I got it. I always smile and say Goodwill or whatever thrift store/garage sale/clothing swap… I think some of my friends are starting to hate me—OK not really hate me. A few weeks ago I attended a two-day sales meeting. About a week before the meeting, I was perusing the local Goodwill and came across a two-piece Banana Republic suit. It was classic black with a long pencil skirt for the bottom—and it was my size. I’m pretty sure it had never been worn. I mean the pockets were still sewn shut. The best part about this suit is it had the week’s half-price colored tag on it. I paid $2.99. I wore it to the sales meeting on the day I presented. I soaked up the compliments. I was inspired to blog about it and create a week-long challenge—the second hand challenge.

I decided to challenge myself to wearing an outfit to work each day that was completely second hand to show women my age that they can dress for success on a budget and still look professional and fashionable while wearing top name brands. And you guys loved it! I have received so much amazing feedback that I will likely continue to do these challenges in the future and perhaps start sharing some of my shopping tips.

I also want to challenge you. Next week, I want you to wear at least one outfit that is completely second hand and send me the photo and info. Let me know how you felt. Did knowing you look amazing and spent little money help empower you at all?

Here’s the rundown on my first week-long second hand challenge:

Monday-My striped Express button up top was an item I bought from a girlfriend of mine. I think I paid maybe $2 for it. She always used to let me get first dibs on any clothing she was taking to consign. I love this shirt because it has some stretch but it also has some style that isn’t of the typical button up blouse. The rolled sleeves and neckline make it feel a little more trendy and fun. It can be dressed up with a nicer skirt or trousers, it goes business casual as pictured and could even be more casual when paired with jeans. Versatility in a wardrobe is important. I have actually been cutting down on the size of mine and going for pieces that I will wear more and have more wearable options. Now let’s talk about this denim pencil skirt. It was love at first site. The denim makes it casual but the cut and style dress it up. It’s also stretch so it was comfy to wear all day. I think this could soon be a go-to piece and at $4.99, I can never go wrong. A complete outfit for $7.


Tuesday-I guess this is my fancy outfit—at least that’s what the guys at work said. The dress is a cotton stretch Ann Taylor wrap dress. The color is beautiful and adds just the right pop to my day. The wrap style cinches my waist making it look small. Uh…you gotta love that. The other part about the style that I liked is the fact that it’s not a traditional wrap dress that often goes on kind of like a bath robe. Wrap dresses look great on all body types, but the traditional fit always seems to bare a little more cleavage or potential malfunctions than I’d like. You won’t find that with this dress. Did I mention it was like wearing a t-shirt all day? This beauty was a 1/2 price item and cost me $2. As a bonus, I accessorized with a vintage Sarah Coventry pendant necklace that set me back around $3 AND I have on Tom’s wedges that I paid $5.99 for…they were new with the tags still attached-and they are so comfy. Are you seeing a theme?—fancy but comfortable. Grand total was about $10.99.


Wednesday-I was more than ready to wear some pants even though it’s like 100 degrees outside with the humidity. I opted for these black stretch Banana Republic trousers that I paid $4.99 for. I paired them with this fun Kenar top. I have never heard of the brand. I just liked the top. The colors and shape made it feel expensive and trendy, but I only paid $3.99 for it. As an added bonus, I paired this outfit with some Chinese Laundry shoes, still had the tags on them when I purchased them, that set me back about $3.99 making the grand total of this outfit $12.97.





Thursday-I had originally planned to wear a cute Ann Taylor a-line skirt, but when I went to put it on…it was too big. I just bought it a month ago! At least I am only out $2. So, I pulled together another Ann outfit. The navy striped top was a $2 purchase. I do love the half-off colored tags at Goodwill. It’s a super stretchy top and lightweight. I actually wear it quite a bit. The pants are a pale pink stretch cotton from LOFT. (They are starting to be a little too big as well.) I got the pants for $4.99. I think that’s a deal considering all the compliments I have received on them at work. I was struggling with what shoes to pair with this outfit because I really just wanted to wear my gold flips flops. I settled for the Chinese Laundry wedges that I had on yesterday ($3.99). This outfit’s grand total was $13.




Friday-Like I said in my post on the social webz—Friday’s are about versatility and being casual. I typically wear jeans. I chose a lightweight Banana Republic dress. It has a retro flapper sort of feel to it—so why not accessorize with a cute headband! This dress is Friday perfect—casual, comfy and cool for any errands I need to run, and I can go straight to dinner or drinks once the work day is over. Did I mention it has pockets?! I paid $5.99 and it still had the tags on it.





To end my challenge week on a good note, I did a little shopping today. This little bag has two shirts, a skirt and some shorts. The brands are Ann Taylor, White House Black Market and Lauren Conrad. One item still had the tags attached. I spent $19. Don’t you wish you knew what was in the bag? Stay tuned…

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