The Space Between My Peers: May 2006

The Space Between My Peers

From the bottom of the fashion food chain ...

Location: The Great Northwest

I'm a home-schooling, bible-believing SAHM with an annual clothing budget of about $500 American. The Space Between My Peers reveals my secret passion: analysis of the art and science of what to wear.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

To a Play, Saturday

Now, I realize that it has been awhile since I posted my what-to-wear-to-event plans. Lest you fear my social life having suddenly gone dry, let me reassure you. No, I have just had other things on my bloggy mind:
So, without further ado: what I will be wearing this Saturday night. Yes, that's right, the as-yet-unworn (by me) beaded-neckline.

Monday, May 29, 2006

I'm Jane Eyre

I found this quiz via Elizabeth Bennett Scarpediem and thought some of you refined ladies might enjoy it:

Which Classic Female Literary Character Are you?

You're Jane Eyre of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte!
Take this quiz!


Make A Quiz More Quizzes Grab Code

Please come back and tell us your result!

Tie One On!

Via Storybook Woods, what I propose to replace that wretched fashion don't: the dress worn over pants. (This particular picture is not necessarily my favorite, but seemed most appropriate for today, Memorial Day.) Let the apron be revived!

Unfortunately, the ladies who really want aprons to be fashionable are not the ones positioned to make it happen; what we need are for trendy young people to adopt the look. And don't you think they should?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Carnivale of Couture: Movie Don'ts

Fashion is a verb:
"My question to you all is this: What movie do you credit with being responsible for the biggest Fashion Don'ts? In other words- Which movie started off clothing trends that never should have been."

Since Flashdance was already taken, by none other than our venerable hostess, I had to ask advice on this one. Enter the man with answers. Without skipping a beat, he answered, "Rocky Horror Picture Show". Thankfully that movie is mostly dim memory to me, so I had to ask him what he meant. I can't possibly post pictures of that here, so you will have to make do with a link to the Bible passage which calls it a "don't". Aren't you glad we now have a more sartorially inspiring cult movie?
But, hey, how about some good news? The next Carnivale of the Couture will be HERE! I have a fun topic in mind; check back, I will post it early. For now I'll just say: be observing carefully the people around you.

Does anyone besides me think it strange that "venerable" means "worthy of respect", but "venery" means "the pursuit of sexual activity"? Hmmm.

Red, White, and Blue Day

As frequently happens, but not as frequently as in the past, I was having a little trouble this morning deciding what to wear. It was raining and overcast, nothing seemed right but this outfit.

Serendipitously, for it sure wasn't on my mind, I was appropriately dressed for what I call a red, white, and blue day (US Memorial Day). I never remember those!

There is only one item pictured here that I have never shown before: the little tiny ApologetiX button. It reads PRAY NOW, IT'S A LOST ART, but everytime I look at it I hear Smash Mouth All Star. (Which parody is also on the CD I am giving away.)

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Party's Here!

Hey, I'm thinking: it's Friday night, why not throw a party? And parties have music, right? I'm playing ApologetiX, That Christian Parody Band. (Did I mention this is a BYOB event?) Next, games. How about Name That Tune?

"Hey, there's three real famous guys in the Bible you know and the in-between guy's name is _______!"

These are the opening words to a Christian parody of a popular song. Your challenge: Name That Tune. I promise, when you figure it out, it will be stuck in your head. Leave your guess as a comment here, I will announce the winner Monday morning.

Update: It's Saturday and we're still partying. Since the one guess that has come in is a hint to the correct answer, I'm changing the requirement to win: you must now name the original song. Hint: the guy's name rhymes with the song title.

Update 2: Come on all you pop culture puppies, Jody and Susan have done the hard work for you! Name the song, and the artist/band, and I'll send you the CD. More than one person with the correct answer? We'll have a drawing. Monday morning.

In the back of my mind, I've been wondering if I could/should do this as a weekly feature (I think those blogs are so cool). What do you think?

Book Review: How to Be a Budget Fashionista (Part 1)

Being Friday and near the end of the day, I shall keep this short and sweet; just a taste to whet your appetite for the book How to Be a Budget Fashionista, by The Budget Fashionista herself, Kathryn Finney.

My copy hit mailbox today. (It's been a great mail week: my necklace from Blest With Sons arrived also!) My usual method for reading a book: open it wherever, skim to the end, go back to the beginning, skim the rest. Imagine my delight on popping the book open to The Budget Fashionista Explains: What to Do When Your Favorite Item Becomes a Fashion Faux Pas! (You'll have to read the book to get the answer; I think if you use my link I get some sort of Amazon brownie points.)

If your monthly clothing budget is closer to Kathryn's ($200) than to mine ($42), How to Be a Budget Fashionista will easily pay for itself in the first month. While I don't always agree with her advice on the blog, TBF is clearly a champion shopper.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Long and The Short of It

Since I got no comments on yesterday's post, I'm wondering whether the whole length balancing thing is boring you. Shall I give some more examples?

  • This previous post describes length balancing in trouser outfits.

  • Here I explained basic length balancing and how it works with a knee-length dress (or anything that is one color or pattern from neck to knee).

  • Yesterday's post, concerning high waisted skirts, illustrated how to split up the neck to knee expanse (2 to 3). Inverting the proportions also works. For current summer-wear, try an extra-long t-shirt or tank worn with bermudas.

  • With cropped pants or mid-calf skirts use 2 1/2 to 4. Go back and look at the picture of me in capris. If you split up the pants into 4 vertical segments, you could fit approximately 2 1/2 of those into the length of the top. Is that why ladies who wear their t-shirts tucked into the (high) waist of their pants tend to like their capris shorter?

Is this helpful at all? Maybe I'd feel better if you asked some questions.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Part Three of Four

This week's Festival of Frugality is up at Tired But Happy (what a great name!); many thanks to Claire for hosting.

While I don't consider this primarily a "frugal" blog, this reader-driven series seemed appropriate for the festival (it was started in response to a question from one of my frugal buddies). The first three in the series are:

Can you identify the pattern? What title would you suggest for the fourth and final post in the series?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Frugal Mom Goes to Work

It's just a catchy title, not a lifestyle recommendation.

Once upon a time, I was a mom who wore suits to work everyday. I have mentioned once before where I would be looking for suits now (Target), if I were shopping for new. Locating affordable vintage suits is the subject of this fine post at Shangri Law .

Now, I want to tell you that The New Women's Dress for Success by John T Molloy (1996) is not what you may think it is. Instead, it's an informative read. The first sentence:

"The jacket has become the hallmark of the American businesswoman..."

In addition to recommending a "jacket outfit" as an alternative to a suit, it contains fascinating chapters on different style types and the psychology of color.

How does this relate to Frugal Mom? Well, certainly a "jacket outfit" affords more flexibility for economy than strictly dressing in suits does. When thrifting or clearance-shopping, make the jacket section your first stop; the dollar amount to be saved here is most significant. I personally own a half-dozen or so jackets, none of which cost me more than $15. Beware of looking dated, however, when shopping thrift. Best to take along an honest friend whose taste runs to the contemporary.

One final thought: if you are a frugal working mom, you may be interested in the Mom Makes Calculator at Crown Financial Ministries. I quit when I got tired of eating beans and potatoes, while my day-care provider bought a new house and a new car.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Opening Night

Last night was Opening Night for a children's theatre production my family is involved in. Working the "will call" table at this scruffy old church, I was functionally a hostess. I know what I should have worn: a dress, something retro-looking since the show is set in the fifties. But I don't have one and I was disinclined to spend $30 at the vintage store (cost per wear, you know).

As it turned out, I could have worn the as-yet-unworn beaded neckline. Both the director and the coordinator dressed up.

Parenthetically, the coordinator is a friend and one of the people God used to point me toward objective answers to my life-long questions about why certain things look good. She taught a class on that book I push.

Which leads me to the real topic of this post. Three variables concern us when selecting what to wear for an event:

  • Setting,
  • activity,
  • and self.
But I often forego my first thought because of an optional fourth consideration : the feelings of others. I suspected the other couple we were working with would dress more casually and, not wanting to make them uncomfortable, I went with my uniform and added a necklace.

What would you have done?

Friday, May 19, 2006

Pantihose in the Summer

In response to all the people who get here via googling "pantihose, do I have to wear them?", the simple one-word answer is NO. The exception: if required by your professional, written or non-written, dress-code.

Now, in practice people, what do you really do? (Did I mention that we are in a record-breaking heat-wave?) I don't wear them in the summer, and several fashionable ladies shared in response to a previous post that they don't either.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

It's Always Nice To Be Invited

One of my trademark sayings is "it's always nice to be invited". (Helps me get over fear of rejection.) Today I'm wondering if that has anything to do with why I am not pathetically envious of my friends and associates who will be partying together tonight at the Coutorture Launch Party. Yes, believe it or not, I am just happy for those guys.

These are exciting days:

Zoe (Verbal Croquis) won her Very Important Fashion Thingie. Did I catch a mention of $10K? That's a reason to celebrate!

Too much to mention at Coutorture, like appearing in WWD. Check out the fun fashion polls.

Rumor has it that Danielle will be making Almost Girl into a comic strip. What fun!

Of course, it could have to do with me being busy with responsibilities. Hopefully next week will mark the end of these lazy, quickie posts and return to more analytical hard work. Anything special you'd like me to be thinking about?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cheap (Post) Substitute

Due to my responsibilities, I am unable to actually write a post today. I recommend you check out Shannon's blog for helpful "Works For Me" ideas.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Feeling the Pull to Frugality

Lately I've been feeling like, now that I kinda have a handle on my wardrobe spending, it's time to re-visit my other expenses and see where I can "squeeze a couple more cents out of every dollar I spend". To that end, I plan to do my partying this week at the Festival of Frugality , over at Boston Gal's Open Wallet, where I am pleased to be featured in the "seeking efficiency" section.

But, as long as you're here, can you recommend a toilet paper?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Carnival of Couture: Best Bargain

The Bargain Queen's invitation:

What is your best-ever bargain? Where did you find it, how much was it and why is it your favourite?

This is hard. As you are well aware, I buy alot at the thrift store on $1 Mondays. In addition, I have a number of favorites which were hand-me-downs or heirlooms; the rest of my wardrobe, for the most part, was purchased on clearance at department stores and such. Like my winter coat, $40 American at the Bon Marche!

For today anyway, the above-mentioned coat stands as my best bargain. I wasn't shopping for a coat that day, actually we were looking for swimwear for my daughters (collective groan). But I did need a coat; and the fitted wool coats, above the knee, with or without the half-belt in the back, were everywhere. If there was one thing I was not going to do, though, it was to buy a black one. Ugh! And look like everyone else?

So I had in mind a color. Brown, charcoal, or a pattern would have done as well. But never in my wildest dreams would I have expected to stumble upon a coat in aubergine. Oh yeah! And $80, down from somewhere around $250. The catch? I only had about $70 to spend (until next month). Dare I ask if it would be going down again? Why not? I could always pull out the credit card, if I had to. Thankfully, it didn't come to that.

The saleslady, and there was one, had a handy-dandy little hand-held inventory thingie that she just punched the numbers into and then she got this look. "Actually", she said,"it will be half-price tomorrow". How does one spell "WOO HOO!!!"?

That was several years ago, before the Bon Marche became Macy's. My aubergine wool coat still makes me happy. That makes it a bargain.

See more great bargains at the Carnival and in the comments here.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

My Mother's Day Post

I don't like holidays. I may have mentioned that before. Mother's Day, however, has no obligatory feasting, therefore I despise it less. Since I don't want to take anything away from my own mother's enjoyment of the day, I won't indulge myself with any more complaining. The simple facts are:

  • My mom is still living, young and healthy, albeit too far away.
  • My mom is moving closer this year. Close enough to have dinner together, and then drive home if we really wanted to. YAY!!!
  • When I was growing up, my mom always gave me the impression that she liked me more "now" than she ever had "before". That was a huge confidence-builder and greatly contributed to our ability to be friends now.

Even though my mother has no more interest in fashion than average, she reads this blog. That says alot.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Uniform for a Mom With Responsibilities

Slowly dawning on me is the fact that next week is one FULL week, full of "mom responsibilities". In a way, I'm looking forward to it, which is a good thing because, ready or not, it's coming. And, you know it's coming, last night I started thinking about what to wear.

Just to simplify the thought process, I decided to use a uniform template. Now I may at the last minute on any given day decide to wear a dress or capris, but here's my current plan:

  • Skirt: It's supposed to be in the 80s, so I will probably rotate through my 3 straight, below-the-knee, no-hose required skirts.
  • Top: Probably something with a collar, but maybe a tee or tank.
  • Layer: While I may wear a cardigan on the day that I am just the chauffeur, the other days I have more official responsibilities and I will undoubtably feel more confident in a tailored jacket.
  • Shoes: The WEDGES! I'm so happy they're comfortable!

Dressed in this, a form of Business Casual, I can be both comfortable and respectable. I remember what I used to think about stay-at-home-moms, and I really don't care to feed those misconceptions.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Random Thoughts About Denim

Significantly after my previous post about the narrowing of the flares, and my later post about skinny jeans, I came across this, with pictures, from Denimology. I trust you can figure out for yourselves what looks good.

Right after "do I have to wear pantihose?", the most common question I am asked is do I have a recommendation for jeans. As I do most of my shopping thrift, that is a challenge. I once asked the Bargain Queen to name her jeans. Her answer:
And since you asked, my latest jeans are Seven For All Mankind (bought half price :). They live up to their hype - they're extremely flattering. I'm also partial to an Australian label called Marcs, their jeans are great.
Some others that have been mentioned here and there:

  • For a basic, everyday pair of jeans I like the look of these, on sale from JCrew, which I have heard fit well. $59.99

  • Eddie Bauer appears to be having a big sale on denim, which is good news because last fall they had the jeans I really wanted, but didn't want to pay for. $29.99

  • And I have worn these, from JCPenney, in the past, and really liked them. $17.99

You've seen what I'm wearing now. Then I will be taking a break. Come fall, I'm considering dying the jeans I have a darker color. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Frugal Mom Classics

I confess right up front: this topic I love, but this post has been a bear to write! Don't expect it to be exhaustive (well, it's sorta been exhaustive ... )

Frugal Classic Mom is all about being appropriately dressed for every occasion, which is why I like to have a tailored jacket on-hand. In the heat of the summer, I will tuck a cardigan in my purse. You FCMs will appreciate this quote from Cotton Incorporated -- The Return of the Twin-set:

Grace Kelly knew it, Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, too. The twin-set embodies timeless elegance.
Typically coordinates are more expensive to purchase, which is why I favor separates, nevertheless they are a Classic ace-in-the-hole. If you can afford to, always buy the coordinating piece when one is available (the jacket to go with the pants, the cardigan to go with the tank, and so on). You won't regret it.

This tipped twin-set, on sale at Target, kinda reminds me of Charlotte's tennis sweater.

Another great classic look: a Doris Day dress, frugal because it is all one piece. If you can't find vintage, how about getting out that dusty sewing machine? For about $10, even I could make a simple dress (no buttons, though, only zippers).

Only one more thought: I hate to be the one to break it to you ladies, but I think capris are on their way out. (Actually, I never wanted to see them around in the first place, but I have adapted. They really are practical.) I have been planning my purchases for the past few years with the expectation that capris are going to be looking dated before long, buying a khaki pair for $1 each winter. What am I looking for to replace them? Long linen slacks, like these from JCPenney.

Clearly, Frugal Classic Mom has a bit more challenging time staying within her budget than us Chaco moms do, especially if second-hand clothing is not readily available in her locale. In her favor, however, she hopefully makes fewer wacky mistakes.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Carnivals, Festivals, and Films

Alas, The Carnival of the Couture at Clothesaholic, film-inspired fashion, has come and gone without an entry from yours truly. What can I say? I live mostly unplugged.

However, I am happy to announce that my post Frugal Mom Wardrobe Basics appears in this week's Festival of Frugality at Clutter2Cash. I can't wait to check out the other entries!

Combining the two themes, film-influenced fashion and frugality, how about this Narnia-inspired princess dress? Purchased for $1 at Value Village yesterday, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I just loved the ankle-length full skirt! (Did I mention it's silk? And notice the hangtag? It's new!)

Well, happily for me, it fits my sixteen-year-old; the one who walked out of the theatre wanting a princess dress. Don't all girls want a princess dress? Even big ones?

Semi-Casual Defined

I should have known. After all, I did serve my high school sentence in a minimum security facility located in a corn field.

What I actually wore to the awards banquet last night (after agonizing much more than would be Biblically defensible under any circumstances):

(Previously I mentioned that the "principal" specified "no shorts" when he handed out the invitations. Surprising to me was how many people heard that as "no jeans". I, on the other hand, was fairly certain HE would be wearing jeans.)

So, just in case you ever receive an invitation to a "semi-casual" event, you can now know the definition:

Semi-casual = black jeans and a western shirt.

I was right! It's half as nice as what I would wear to lunch with my grandma.

Monday, May 08, 2006

What I Won't Be Wearing Tonight

Previously mentioned a time or two, I just wanted you all to be able to see what I won't be wearing tonight, because the invitation reads:

You are invited to a special dinner and awards night!

Dress: Semi-Casual

In an earlier post, I gave the following definition of casual:

Casual = Nicer, but still fairly relaxed. Due to geographical variations, I prefer to not define this category too precisely. Lunch with your boss, your pastor, or your grandma requires casual clothing. Business casual fits here.

Now, in High School semi-formal meant that instead of being able to wear something special, you wore an everyday dress; and your chances were about zero that your date would be wearing anything nice at all. And my daughter reminds me that a semi-circle is half a circle. So, what does that make semi-casual? Something half as nice as what you would wear to lunch with your grandma.

Yet another dinner where I can't feel appropriately dressed in anything but jeans. Somehow, I don't think that was the effect they were after.

Deep Storage for Wool

Last night I packed my wool away for the summer. A few pieces, like my coat which I actually wore yesterday, will wait and go to the dry cleaner's next month; the majority , as well as a couple of fur pieces, is packed in paper bags and stored in my freezer till next Fall.

Hey, if it works with food, why not clothes? (Once frozen, moth eggs will never hatch.) Next up: taking everything out of the closet to vacuum.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A Word or Two About Belts

Since I am not an embellishment person, I have a very hard time justifying spending many times more for a belt than I spent for the pants it holds up.

An incomplete list of ideas for others who won't be wearing this season's latest and greatest belts:

  • Men's leather belts, like the one I was wearing yesterday, can be significantly less expensive than women's.
  • Consider raiding your dad's wardrobe for belts he has outgrown or doesn't use. Would your husband share his belts?
  • Salvation Army, at least here, prices most or all belts $.89. Recently I bought an eelskin belt, in cordovan with bright brass buckle, and got change back from a dollar bill!
  • Belts with holes all the way around are more versatile, because they can be adjusted to more sizes.
  • For you girly types: this, from Style Bytes.

The old rule of matching shoes and belt? It works. Not strictly necessary, but a way to coordinate a simple wardrobe.

What ideas would you add?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Capri Pants & You

With this post I am attempting to achieve two purposes: announcing what I will wear to an upcoming event and shedding some light on the matter of the capri pant.

(This is one of my favorite summer uniforms.)

Due to the fact that my friend's mother is out of town, I have been invited to attend a "Bring Your Mom to MOPS" event (you got that right -- I am the stand-in grandma, but I'm okay with that). But, what to wear? For me, this event is purely social. The weather should be great. Complicating matters, however, is the fact that my friend is shorter than me (I never like to look conspicuously tall).

Working from the ground up, here's what I am thinking:

  • Chaco's. (pssst ... REI is having a sale, now through Mother's Day.) Too bad I didn't have time for a fresh coat of paint. Oh well.
  • Khaki capris. Either the ones in the picture or the ones I didn't like the picture of.
  • Silk floral blouse.

What I want to show you about the capris is how, even though the length is not special, I look normal. That is because of silhouette. Unfortunately, I have not been able to think of a way to codify the types of capris and crops available into body shapes and make it easy for you to shop. You will have to try them on. Here's what to look for in the fitting room:

  • hourglass ~ Something, either at the hip or at the hem, should be at least equal to the shoulders in width. The waist is defined.
  • rectangle ~ Pant-legs fall from the hip in straight, parallel, vertical lines. Waist may be slightly defined or straight.
  • oval ~ Pants may taper slightly, being roughly shoulder-width at the hem. Waist appears to be filled in.
  • figure-eight ~ That's me. Note the appearance of an oval, but from the waist down.
  • triangle ~ Pants should be wider at the hem. Absolutely no pleated tummies!
  • wedge ~ Choose a narrow-at-the-hem capri or walk on the wild side: you can wear gauchos (they balance your wider shoulders).

Ugh! Whenever a post takes me this long to write, I fear the comments. (But at least that means somebody's reading!) Can you identify your silhouette?

National Day of Prayer

Today is the National Day of Prayer. Would you like me to pray for you? Just leave a comment with your prayer request. You may be anonymous, if you like; you may even choose to have your request unpublished.

Because I approve all comments before they are published, any comment can be just an email to me by simply stating "do not publish".

I'm off to my (6:30 am every Thursday) prayer meeting. Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

How I Am Feeling About Coutorture These Days

How am I feeling about Coutorture these days?

  • One, and this is important to me, as a partner, I feel RESPECTED. Yes, I realized that my blog's name was truncated (appearing as Between My Peers), I don't mind. It gives me ideas.

  • Two. Based on my content that has been featured on Coutorture, I believe the editors when they say "Coutorture's mission is to highlight the wealth and diversity of the fashion blogosphere while creating an online fashion community that is open and accountable to all." Again, respect. My viewpoints would not be welcome in many venues, but Coutorture is proving to be more open-minded, for lack of a better word, than most.

  • Three. As a consumer of fashion media, I am loving the opportunity to see highlights from blogs that I either don't have time to read or simply haven't found yet.

You can watch a promo video, which I understand is very good. I, on the other hand, cannot watch it, due to either:

a) My non-existent computer-hacking skills.
b) My stone-age computer. Or
c) My itty-bitty dial-up straw.

Oh well. Perhaps one of you intrepid readers will watch the video and then come back and leave us a Plugged In type review.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Who Knew?

Who knew that Blest is not only blest with sons, but with talent as well. Jewelry making talent! You can buy necklaces from her at her blog/site, but I don't have to (at least the first one), because I WON A DRAWING!!! With a piece of advice (I still think it's good advice). Here it is, my whole random comment:

The thing about scheduling is that as soon as you think you get one that works something changes and it's back to the drawing board. (And then there's the lure of the blogs. I actually was planning on taking these few quiet moments to work on a schedule update, but here I am ... )

What I am trying right now, and I kinda like it, is scheduling in flexible 1 1/2 hour increments. I'm trying to only plan 1 hours worth of stuff in each time slot, thereby building in necessary margin.

When I was in 1st grade, my teacher came to my house with all the papers which I had stuffed into my desk.

Really, nothing beats homeschooling. Now that was random!

On another, random necklace note, Henri V has a new blog to document hand-made things. And speaking of hand-made things, Carolina Rags makes purses and diaper bags and has a most unusual personal story.

About my necklace: I am getting one of the tile ones, in a dark brown. You see, dark brown is a great accent color with my pink, white, and khaki.

Color It In (Frugal Basics)

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post.

To demonstrate how to apply the principle of a personalized color palette, today I show you a color for each Frugal Mom Basic:

Bermuda shorts: There really is a danger of these making your legs look shorter, if that is something you are concerned about. I never worry about it, although I do have short-ish legs, I simply choose a color that blends with my legs. Having very fair, slightly peach skin, my current favorites are a khaki pair and a peach and white plaid. Recommendation: a brown or tan close to your melanin color.

Skirt: The point of the skirt is to be able to wear it with your t-shirts. Recommendation: a neutral or a print containing the colors you wear.

T-shirts: Currently I'm playing with the idea that each person has a family of colors they can draw from freely, and I'm not talking about those packets of 30 colors. Basically, most people look great in their eye color, although I use my hemoglobin color (that is the reds present in the skin, great for brown-eyed girls). My "color family" is coral pink, running from coral, the brightest, to watermelon, more muted, to very pale pink or peach. Quite a useful range, don't you think? Recommendation: find your own color family and buy a t-shirt in one of those colors every season. Oh, and let me know what you pick, so I know whether I made any sense.

Jacket: (I have several previous posts about what color jacket to wear.) Recommendation: The color of your hair (that's why I get a white jean jacket!) or its complement.

My summer wardrobe color scheme? Pink, white, and khaki. That's about it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Frugal Mom Wardrobe Basics

A recent reader request:

Maybe you could give me some help with a couple of simple "must haves" for a modest mom of three (that I could afford).

Since my frugal friend and I live in the same community, and shop the same thrift stores, let it be understood I am assuming a wardrobe which already contains some inexpensive staples. To accomodate readers who don't live near good second-hand clothing stores or who are too busy to shop them, I will focus on sources more accessible to all.

  • Bottoms: The best wardrobes are built from the bottoms up. This season's "must have" with the greatest potential? The Bermuda Short! They allow you to stay cool and casual without sticking to your seat, or worse, looking like you are trying to prove something (that is, that you can still wear short shorts). These from JCPenney are $9.99.

    In addition, if you don't have a girly skirt in a below-the-knee length, now is a great time to get one. Wear it to church, to social functions, and for everyday on the hottest days. As much as I hate to say it, both of my daughters found nice ones at Walmart this year.

  • Tops: Moms like tee-shirts. Why? No ironing! On clearance, or at the lowest price of the season sale at Shopko, I can usually find good t-shirts for about $4, but not always in the colors I want. So I end up at Old Navy. (Another frugal tip: find a friend with a similar style personality who will be your two-for buddy. Shop together and save!) Currently I'm loving sleeveless tees.

  • Jackets and sweaters: I'd love to hear from you readers what your everyday throw-over-everything topper is. Nothing expresses personality like a jacket. I know this sounds crazy, but right now, for practicality and style, I'd add a corduroy one. (Washable, tossable, crumpleable, oh yeah!) If you can't find a nice one on clearance from last fall (Nordstrom Rack has options for less than $20)-- and the good news is fall colors are in for spring-- there are options on eBay.

So, if you bought everything I suggest, and you may not want or need to, it should run you about $60 or $70. Tell me the truth, tightwads, is this too much? Does it leave enough for shoes?

What's on your "must have" list this season?

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