Blog: Pam's Pennypinching With STYLE

Pam's recounting of how her ancestrally thrifty habits have helped her in modern life in ways none of her foremothers could have imagined!

Showing 12 posts in the Clothing category for this blog.
From Over Memorial Day Wkend I
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day wkend I

Thrifty shopping can make hubby grouchy - but when it is = to 1 pr of leather sandals (new condition marked $40) - 1 pr of clogs - 2 pairs of black pants (1 linen) - 3 t-shirts (One a designer one) - a stylish vest - a hippie Nepalese hoodie ( I had admired in Topanga but couldn't afford)- 6 paperback mysteries - 1 LARGE scented candle - large cotton scarf - a belt (new) and two large music books = $47 is a GOOD DEAL!!

I am wearing one pair of the cheap cropped madras pants I ordered online from - 2 for $14 - I got a blue plain pr. & a cranberry - for the summer.  Haband has good deals if you look through their stuff carefully - Basic items, like these capris, windbreakers, etc. (I also ordered nice slippers once.)

To make hubby happy I do triage at the register & weed out the pieces that are dubious. (He bought himself a Packers tshirt at the discount store across the street - almost as much as my whole haul.)




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Casual Remarks
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Enjoying Xmas holiday - &   going to the thrift shops near my relatives' places!  Hubby found a leather jacket for $10 (they all thought it was PLASTIC - but after he bought it, I sniffed it & knew better...)

  • Also: Found a pair of brand new dark blue loafers (my daily shoe of choice) + more boat shoes!
  • Found a folklorico dress (Guatemalan??) for $4.99 - 
  • Found a long-sleeved t-shirt with a "Picasso" theme for $4.99
  • Found a fabric fedora for winter use - 
  • Some scarves (I couldn't resist)
  • And budget item - a pkg of 4 prs of trouser stockings for - .$99!!!
  • Some nice paperbacks 
  • Some inexpensive dresses that seemed to be new Target merchandise - I will use them for auditions, so easy to throw on a DRESS
  • And hubby found a nice pair of slippers! 

Lots of fun!I always feel as if I am snooping in someone's closet! & saving $, too.....

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Casual Remarks
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Enjoying Xmas holiday - &   going to the thrift shops near my relatives' places!  Hubby found a leather jacket for $10 (they all thought it was PLASTIC - but after he bought it, I sniffed it & knew better...)

  • Also: Found a pair of brand new dark blue loafers (my daily shoe of choice) + more boat shoes!
  • Found a folklorico dress (Guatemalan??) for $4.99 - 
  • Found a long-sleeved t-shirt with a "Picasso" theme for $4.99
  • Found a fabric fedora for winter use - 
  • Some scarves (I couldn't resist)
  • And budget item - a pkg of 4 prs of trouser stockings for - .$99!!!
  • Some nice paperbacks 
  • Some inexpensive dresses that seemed to be new Target merchandise - I will use them for auditions, so easy to throw on a DRESS
  • And hubby found a nice pair of slippers! 

Lots of fun!I always feel as if I am snooping in someone's closet! & saving $, too.....

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Feathers 4 New Yrs?
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Had to share these instructions for a feather-embellished skirt! (Especially after watching Ginger Rogers swirl around in a feather-decorated ball gown last nite on TCM!)

It's from whowhatwear -

Of course, if you've got some time on your hands, a budget to stick to, or simply prefer to wear one-of-a-kind items, you can always make a feathered skirt yourself. Thought it might seem seriously complicated, we've got a secret weapon to help get you through this project: D.I.Y. guru Erica Domesek of P.S. I Made This! Today she's sharing all the secrets you need to know about how to fashion a feathered skirt, so read on for Domesek's always-simple step-by-step instructions and have fun!

-Black Skirt
(We used American Apparel's California Fleece Tulip Skirt ($32) in black.)
-Ostrich Feather Trim
(Please note: the exact length of trim needed is directly related to the size of the skirt you are using.)
Small Skirt: 4+ yards
Medium Skirt: 5+ yards
Large Skirt: 6+ yards
-Fabric Glue
(Aleene's Original Tacky Glue ($5) is one good option)

1. Lay skirt on a flat surface and glue the feather trim to the hem, starting at the bottom edge on the far left side.

2. Make sure you use a generous layer of glue on the feather trim (but not so much that it seeps over the trim's edges) and be sure to position the trim so that it lies flat along the hem.

3. Once glued in place, cut the trim on the far right edge of the skirt.

4. Glue the second row of trim to the skirt, again starting on the far left side. The second row should be spaced approximately 2 to 3 inches above the first row. (NOTE: Do one entire side of the skirt first, then flip it and do the other side.)

5. Continue to glue rows of the feather trim up the skirt, leaving approximately 2 to 3 inches between each row.

6. Let the skirt partially dry—approximately 10 to 15 minutes—then flip it over and do the other side.

7. Once you're finished with both sides, be sure to let the fabric glue completely set (approximately 24 hours) before wearing it out on the town!

For pix go to (This is for 12/22) Or look up Erica Domesek on the site...

NOTE: for even a more budget twist - you might try attaching the feathers you can get from little girl's boas at the dollar store.  They are strings of chicken feathers - and probably would have to be sewn on instead of glued - but come in lots of colors & would also look super!

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Thrift Fashion Gleaning
Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yes, it does help to be in an area like the L.A. metro area,  where there is a lot of fashion turnover! But I also try to scope out thrift shops and only keep on going back to what I consider to be good ones. You can tell an awful lot about the regular contributors by looking over the stock.  (Ditto usual price range.) In town the Out of the Closet thrift shops are great as a rule - and up in Ventura there are church thrift shops and ones that seem to get things from retirees - so there's vintage in there for a good price if you look carefully.  I just got a silver bangle for $1 from one of those.

I suppose I have always lived in more or less trendy areas - so that would influence my field of selection!

It helps to keep an eye out on the current fashion (very easy now on the internet!) & pick up little things that are trendy - Like the $1 80's turquoise snakeskin cuff I snagged.  Whew - it's new equivalent would be $30-40!!

It is also useful to have a nodding acquaintance with luxury brands, so you recognize the names when you come across them.  If you are totally new at this, try window shopping at some high class establishments to train your eye.  Go to resale shops where you can feel the quality of better goods and come to recognize good workmanship and quality.

I just bought a woven leather/straw summer bag for $3!! It's right in fashion & looks as if it's 60's Italian - and primo workmanship/materials!  For that price, I can afford to have it in the closet & bring it out when needed to glam up!

The more you recognize good things when you see them at a good price - the better deals you can discover.  I got a Nicole Miller dress necklace with faux smoky quartz & diamonds for $6 - which would be $50?? in a store.  Take a look at costume jewelry in the stores sometimes.  Most of it is expensive & can't compare in quality to older pieces! (which also have some resale value....)

You can also put together your own jewelry easily these days with just a visit to a craft store like JoAnne or Michael's.  They have all sorts of beads and pieces to make jewelry out of these days! Or restring that crystal necklace that your mother or grandmother used to wear.  Crystals are in fashion & expensive! 

I have also found that I can get good deals by buying pieces that need minor repairs.  You can refinish a piece quickly with gold or silver nail polish! Or put together broken links, etc.

Scarves can also be easily MADE.  I got a pleated cotton scarf at a thrift store with a price tag of $10 - what, were they nuts? Now, in the thrift shop at $1 it made sense - but otherwise I would hunt down old cotton broomstick skirts and cut up a suitable length for a scarf! (if you had to seam it, seam it at the neck where it wouldn't show.)

If there is a dollar store around, there will be sunglasses - and not even for $10 each! (Altho there is a $10 sale now, I think, on Look for clearances and bargains on the internet at - and even HSN has a clearance site!  I subscribe to all sorts of sites for just this info, which is how I landed a dress for less than $15 online! There are some super bargains out there.

Is there anything like a garment district in your town or nearby city?  Check it out.  It's always best to get fashion before the markup demons hit it!  That also goes for discount chains like Ross and so on. (For me, best on sale...) If a store is within your radar - check it out regularly - and have an internal shopping list so you can get your staples - and never turn down deals on BLACK shoes! They live forever....

OK - are you motivated?  I admit that I sit here in my yellow sweatshirt and ultra baggy comfy jeans - but I am going out tonite - so watch out!




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Comparison Shopping!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Got a chance to comparison shop in the last few days, with interesting results.  Found bargains in a craft store & thought my favorite thrift shop was more expensive than usual and got to check prices on my favorite vintage stuff....

Dropped in at Joanne's sewing and craft store & found out they had more craft than I thought - and also were having a sale.  Looked at the funny fur I had gotten  for $1 & here it was $6-7 per ball!! Also saw that the sale items were pretty much cleaned out - but I picked up the flyer with the coupon for 40% off an item & bought some glue.  And a plain black rubber visor for $1. They also had a sales rack & I got little eyeglass cases for my reading glasses (they are hard to find, believe it or not). At the check out I signed up for their mailing/email list so NEXT time there is a sale, I will KNOW.  But did pretty well anyway. (Lots of little items there that would make good gifts, by the way.)

The next day I went to my favorite Salvation Army store, and suddenly things seemed more expensive than usual! Everything was at least $1 or $1.99 - and some things $5 - that I didn't think were really worth it!  Because I had a lot of time, I combed the joint and did turn up a Coldwater Creek jacket for $3.00 - but it was an effort! And some scarves, and little glass dishes for ice cream.  Have to admit I also found a very nice framed vintage flower print with a bit of water damage that has escaped the antique annex next store, for $3....Good deal and if I put it in the bathroom, I don't have to worry about it! And I was given a senior citizen discount - which I take, forget vanity!  So I did OK on my budget of $20....

Today I had an appointment on stylish La Brea Ave. here in L.A.,and after that I did some window shopping.  I love the clothes and so on at American Rag, altho I never can afford anything.  Very informative to see that the sort of cotton vintage summer dresses with exotic themes I have gotten elsewhere here were $40 or more!  I was wearing a Thai dress I had snagged at a rummage sale for $.50 and I was right in fashion! And I also noticed my African things.  I really do think ethnic never totally goes out of style...And I love the embroidery and the exotic fabrics.

There was another vintage store down the street which had exquisite things.  Really nice - but Whew!  the prices! Even the SALES things I looked at were $98!! (down from $200 or more!!)   I swear, the jacket out of the obi fabric that I bought for $80 in Santa Barbara would go for $300 here!! I also saw some oriental things very much like what I have at home - and I didn't pay anywhere near as much!! But it's always nice to see what the fashionable traffic will bear and what's in style.  It gives me points in the mental frugality game!

Oh, the real reason I had gone to the craft store was to get ivory craft paint for my summer boat shoes.  It's really hard to find ivory shoe polish, and I suspect the white shoe polish nowadays is just acrylic paint, so I decided to invest in some craft paint to redo my ivory boat shoes, which were great but needed re-surfacing.  I painted them & - it did WORK.  Need another coat tho. 

Did I mention that they had ivory boat shoes just like mine at American Rag?  Cost the moon, I would suppose.  Best thing is to get them where they remain generic!  My husband gets his at the boating stores, like Boater's World or West Marine, when they are on sail - or at sporting goods stores like Big 5 on sale....He has gotten his for $15!!

So all in all, it's been fun and informative.  That's the way I squeeze value out of my limited dollars.  Rather than even spend $50 on a Coldwater Creek jacket at their outlet sale online - mine was really CHEAP.  (And that way I can indulge in a slew of colorful summer jackets!) And rather than buy someone else's taste at American Rag or the vintage store,  I buy them direct from the source before they go through several hands, getting more and more expensive as they go!  The woman in the vintage store asked if I were a designer & I said, "No, a collector. I wear them myself."  And then I realized I was wearing my $.50 Thai dress, which looked super and stylish, and I got more self-esteem from my cleverness than I would have by paying through the nose at either posh boutique.  So THERE.








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We are on the Mend! A needle & thread does it.
Friday, March 07, 2008

Last weekend, I found myself mending clothes to wear out - I have a lovely Indian skirt that I found was a bit fragile & had to sew on a seam or 2 or 3 or 4!! And I had to sew together the leather strip that went in the chain in my Chanel knockoff purse, too. Of course none of this was apparent when I showed up glammed for the L.A. Ballet.

What do people do who can't SEW even a bit?  I am grateful for my Girl Scout leader my mother, and my first attempts at handsewing - so I can sew a set of decent looking stiches AND hem my pants/jeans using the invisible hemming stitch.

Although, sometimes I have to admit that I am grateful for what I call - I admit it - "stupid rich people" for dumping things that only need minor repair on a seam.  I also stiched the inside seam of a trendy bag I had gotten in a thrift shop, which got me compliments all weekend.  And once in a thrift shop I got a genuine velvet/sequined Bill Blass dress with a tag from Saks 5th Ave. on it - because it was bottom-heavy, and the seam in the organza top needed a few stiches...

So have sewing needles, a threader, and thread of different COLORS around.  I like the little collections of thread in various colors you can get at discount stores.  That way I always have the right color, and that's so important to keep the repair your secret.  My grandmother used to tell me tales of the rich woman she worked for in NYC in the old days who had her silk Parisian undies darned and mended until there was nothing left of them!

Then, of course, there is what they used to call Bondex - you know, the cotton strips that adhere with the heat of an iron.  They come in all sorts of colors, too & that's also something to have around for a quick repair of a rip.  I have even used self-fusing facing material (available in white & black) to mend more delicate fabrics.

If you are wearing vintage - check your seams, especially around the armholes, and bring a tiny mending kit WITH YOU - as you never know when those old seams will decide to give up the ghost. I have had lovely vintage silk shirts go to pieces on me at fancy events & off to the ladies I went to sew it up. (Ditto narrow straps.)

I also think it helps to have done some needlework - embroidery, etc. - as then you will have a repertoire of stiches to use.  I have even DARNED fabrics in garments I really liked.

So brush up your handsewing.  It's easy to do in front of the TV - and who wants to PAY anyone good money to put up a HEM?  My thrifty heart shivers at the thought.






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What's "Budget Fashion"?
Monday, January 07, 2008

Had some time today, as I am in recovering from a sore throat and found myself surfing the internet.  I get some fashion feeds I looked at and some of their links and I also surfed a bit using - which takes you interesting places you wouldn't otherwise find.

It amazes me that so-called "frugal" bargain queens show shoes to buy that are $200+...and generally all sorts of clothing pieces in the hundreds.  That isn't frugal to me at all.  To me frugal is the Ann Klein wool/nylon sequined sweater I wore for New Year's Eve which I got at a thrift shop in Ventura, CA for about $7!

When we were down in San Diego for New Year's we wandered around in La Jolla and window shopped. On the way there we stopped at a resale shop that was having a "sale", too.  And the things I get for $10 or so they had for $50 - on sale!  Not my idea of a bargain.

But back to La Jolla - in a pharmacy/boutique I saw the sister of a bag I had gotten in Ventura for $7 - listed at $50! And it's vinyl.  I thought they were good knock-offs, tho.  But I think mine was a sample of the importers or something -- a place I go has them regularly.....So I am on the lookout for them...

I do surf around the fashionable net and look for trends and shapes and styles and names of designers.  That's how I know my $10 designer shoes retail for $250 - or the necklace I got at the craft faire for $50 costs over 4 times that much in a boutique. It's fun to come home and look it up and calculate the savings.

There was a brief time after I inherited a bit of money that I tried to go retail a bit - and you know, I had a very similar experience to my usual bargain shopping and spent a lot more for the same sort of things!

So I am back to my old tricks, which I conjured up in my many years as a starving actress who had to look good anyway.  I am grateful for what I have learned of the art of the wardrobe - and what suits ME.  And altho I still look at those fashion sites, they are mostly fantasy land, not where I live...where DO they wear those fancy clothes, anyway?  It would be hard even here in Hollywood!



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Real vs. Ideal Style
Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just was reading Marie Claire's site on fashion (I subscribe to those style sites to keep updated and don't really buy fashion mags anymore) and I saw in the fashion blog how boots for $825 were worth it because they had several looks. 

Now I am sure that the blogger means it - but that's more than a month's RENT for me.  I could LIVE on that! 

Boots were much more important in the E. where it gets so cold - but what with the salt on the streets, would I want to pay $825 for a pair of boots that would be easily ruined? 

I just did buy myself some ankle boots - at a thrift shop for $2!! they have leather toes and back with the rest nylon and I have another black pair in vinyl (you COULD wear those in the salt and wet and I got them for a trip to NYC a winter ago)...Otherwise in S. California boots don't make too much sense for me, as it is almost always too warm for them.  

That's the real vs. ideal world.  Now the writer probably got the boots gratis for writing about them - or a deep discount...But some teen-aged girl longing for them won't know that unless she grows up to be a journalist fashionista herself. 

That's where my mother's practicality comes in.  She is the voice in my head asking me if those boots are really practical in the snow and on salty streets.  It makes more sense to get a cheaper pair (in vinyl, maybe) for those times and this of all the rest of the $ you have left to pay your bills!

If you find a rock bottom deal on boots to DIE for, and you can wear them non-stop, then stretch your budget by all means.  But I warn you that it's sometimes hard to find fashion favorites without playing the field.  And I find that much easier when I accumulate lots of choices in my wardrobe (my husband may say too many).  But I never know that the cute shoes I picked up for a song will turn out to be my mainstays for a season...And I could just have a really boring wardrobe and stick to expensive basics...but - ugh...

Last weekend while we were out at our favorite thrift shops, I actually dragged my husband into some trendy boutiques to show him REAL prices.  Like the $325 bag of which mine is a $7 knock off - And I also share my research on the designer things I snag & what they would cost REALLY.  ($250, not $2)....OK, I spent something like $70 last weekend - but but that I got $250 shoes, and $80 shoes and $30 handbag,  and a $40 silk designer scarf, to mention a few items....And no one will know except my blog readers! 


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Monday, October 22, 2007

There is a fairly out-of-the-way rural Goodwill we go to sometimes when we are in the neighborhood.  But what great stuff!  Somehow they have new merchandise - shoes from Target  for women - originally @$30 - now from $3-$5.  And things like gift bags, and other little things.  I got a good deal on a bath mat!  They also have bargain racks with things from $.49 to $.99 - I always find something.

This time the find was a Downey-Burke purse.  I remember the brand from the olden days with the green/brown square editions -but I recognized the Downey duck - and realized that the pebbled leather brown pouch had been put in with the plastic!  Imagine my surprise when I got home & looked it up on the net - retail almost $300!!  And seemingly brand new! 

But that's the place I got my husband's black leather blazer for  - oh, I think $40!! - It makes one an impulse shopper- but with leather purses going for hundreds of dollars, I grab the bargains when I can!

It helps to recognize brands  - I also got some new Bandolino ballet flats for $2.99 (retail @ $40) - It's great fun to come home and look up the values on the net.  Ka ching! And I got some Target gold pumps against a gala for $5 - (value $30) - But watch out for the sizes!  The pumps were marked 8 1/2 and they fit my 7 1/2-8 size foot just fine.  So often things are in thrift shops because the sizes are OFF.  And nowadays Chinese-made shoes tend to run SMALL.  So always try them ON.  I think I even have some size 9 shoes - which also fit quite well!

As I have said before, I live in Los Angeles, more specifically Hollywood, and when I get dressed up, I have to get DRESSED UP, even tho I spend lots of my time in jeans and t-shirts.  It's part of the old theatrical bluff. I don't want anyone knowing exactly how much I am making.  Keep them guessing, I say.

And that leaves me $ to spend in the health food store!  (Altho a local health food store has a bargain bin I always peek into - and get bargains from that, too, including nice skin cream....My cash register racked up a supposed $25.00 in savings last time.  They have sales, too....)

P.S.  - A TIP- compare formulations  (look at the ingredients)of even healthfood or homeopathic remedies.  I just found a near-duplicate of an allergy formulation I love, but which is sometimes hard to find! About the same price, or a little less -  I am going to try it out.  Have done the same with formulations that have gone out of production....



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Gala Glam pix
Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hey I DO have pix of this outfit - which I will post when my husband downloads it from the camera.  I warn you, I am neither tall nor skinny - but I FELT as glamourous as all get out!

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Shopping on the net
Monday, October 01, 2007

Now, I don't usually shop on the net - because usually I manage to get better deals without having to pay for shipping - but I am on several mailing lists  - one of them Lane Bryant (ok, but they go down to a 14!) And because I live in sunny California, I could take advantage of end-of-the summer sales and get 2 pairs of cargo pants for ($13.00) + $5 shipping (the cheapest).  They had lots of deals for under $10 - but it's the pants that seem to be the best deals - $10 or under for a pair of pants I will wear to the ground is my price range, definitely.  Get on their online mailing lists at - if that's your size...

Ok, I hadn't been shopping in thrift shops as usual, due to the flu, so I felt justified! (Oh, and a few months ago I did get a synthetic alexandrite ring,  the stone changes colors  - from HSN - Home Shopping Network - of all things! Because I had been looking for a good deal in an alexandrite....) As usual, I will only buy stuff on SALE that's a really GOOD deal!







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