I recently engaged in a bit of an experiment when it comes to my spending. I tallied up everything I spent in one category, clothing, over the past two months, and how many items I spent that money on.
I work with creditors to resolve client's delinquent debt for less than what is owed on a Bank of America or Capital One credit cards, for example. This type of program is called debt settlement, but we have a particular advantage by being able to offer a portion of our clients the loan program. This program helps people who experience a hardship that make it difficult to keep up with payments to creditors, such as medical expenses, divorces or forced retirement.
My office manual describes the dress code as “casual business,” but you will see a lot of women walking around in leggings. Our office now has over 200 employees, but we are about 80% women. We mostly talk on the phone; there is no person-to-person interaction. However, I’ve lately been trying to dress for success while still incorporating elements of myself in my outfits. Typically, only management wears more professional clothing. The biggest rule in our office is no exposed shoulders, and I don’t cycle through accessories. I wear the same jewelry everyday. Here’s what I wore this week:
The basics: Vera Bradley Mattie Pop Art Glasses (about $300, which includes my lenses and anti-reflective coating) / LuLu's Awaken Your Magic Earrings ($25) / LuLu's Apollonia Multi Star Necklace ($24) / Triangle Ring and Braided Ring from Old Navy (bought more than five years ago, about $20 for both) / Michael Kors Mercer Large Dome Satchel in Brown (discontinued, about $170 bought on sale). Total: $519
Monday: Le Lis Solid Cardigan ($39.95) / LuLu's So Lovable Blue Mandala Print Top ($34) / Free People Easy Goes It Denim Leggings ($58) / Sandals from Target (bought more than three years ago, about $25). Total: $156.95
Honestly, I hate wearing pants. I bought these on a whim and they are holy grail status for me; I ended up buying two more colors. The leggings pull in my stomach and really show off my curves. I love them so much. I’m also a huge fan of flowy tops, and my cardigan is a tuxedo cut so it adds a bit of flair to an otherwise boring piece of clothing. Side note: My sandals got me through a 20 mile walk in Washington, D.C., and I only cried in pain a little bit.
LuLaRoe is not something I was ever into, however I found this Madison skirt and it is so comfortable. It also has deep pockets! I’m not sure if the color combo works, but I love mustard yellow. The Tieks were expensive, but I’ve wanted them since I was 16 and just recently purchased. They are just... OK. I wouldn’t buy another pair. Although I love this outfit, I now realize I blend in with the bathroom wall.
Does this outfit even match? I love this top, and the cardigan has gotten me through so many years and still looks amazing.
Thursday: LuLu's Carlton Light Blue Button- Up Top ($39) / LuLu's Beautiful Tempest Navy Blue Print Wrap Maxi Skirt ($40) / Target sandals ($25). Total: $104
I’m upset that the skirt is a lot longer than pictured, but I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. I’m 5’5”, and I’m sure the model is at least 6 feet tall. However, this outfit is super light and airy, so it’s perfect for humid days, and I think it looks super cute.
Friday: Dress bought from TJ Maxx years ago (about $15) / Aeropostale Open Ribbed Cardigan (bought on sale for $17) / Target sandals ($25). Total: $57
The cheapest outfit of all is also one of the most comfortable. This dress has held up for years and I always get compliments on it. I feel like it’s one of a kind, too, because I never see anyone else wear it. I also approve that I can go braless in this dress.
Kate Boone is a negotiator for Century Support Services in North Huntingdon, Penn.
I finally figured out how to not look like a dweeb when I put my carry-on in the overhead compartment. Let my past mistakes be our guide as we look at how I packed for an overnight business trip.
At 24, I’d rather spend my money on “weekend clothes” (read: ripped jeans, ironic graphic tees, really big Free People sweaters and super impractical leather skirts), so I am an extreme workwear bargain-hunter. I never buy anything full price and I look for versatile pieces.
I made the choice to wear the hijab in the seventh grade. Making the decision was much easier for me than others given the community I grew up in; I attended Islamic school in New Jersey all the way through high school. I wore the hijab as part of my uniform starting in the fifth grade. My mother, most of my aunts and older cousins also wore hijab, so making the decision was not a leap for me. In fact, as a young girl, I looked up to all the women in my life who wore the hijab.
When I was growing up, my mom and I spent a lot of time trawling thrift stores for diamonds in the rough. My family had a year or two when money was tight, and part of cutting back was shopping at Goodwill for new clothes. I distinctly remember finding a pair of jean shorts from Abercrombie at the local Salvation Army. That was the moment that taught me the magic of thrifting.
But like that cup of coffee personal finance blogs have been warning you will add up to a sizable sum eventually, dry cleaning does make a dent in your budget. A more sustainable choice is to hand wash your clothes instead.
For this experiment, I took full-body selfies in the reflective exterior of the New York Racquetball Club across the street from my office. Tracking what I wore actually made me want to mix clothes I haven’t worn together yet; I tend to wear the same outfits and not get as much use out of some garments as others. Here’s what I wore this week.