Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Jean's $100 Challenge Times Two!

Not that we're competitive or anything, but after Valerie hit a home run with her recent $100 challenge, I had to step up my game. The underlying premise to the exercise is to see how well put together we can be for around $100.  My take on this particular challenge was to create a day and evening look from the same basic building block. The foundation of this look is a simple, black (natch!) spaghetti strapped jumpsuit by Sweet Claire. It's 100% rayon, machine washable, weighs practically nothing and rolls up into a tiny, lightweight bundle (great for travel). Best of all, it cost a whopping $15 at Buffalo Exchange, a local consignment shop.  The $15 earrings are round black and white straw concentric circles, from the recent pop up vintage boutique in Industry City in Brooklyn. The necklace is a faux ostrich-covered metal collar that was a gift from the owner of the now-defunct Eva boutique on The Bowery.

I paired the romper with a black, white and green printed long-sleeved, round-necked Kamali Kulture top. The tag says that the color is "b/w color bomb" and that the material, which is 95% polyester and 5% spandex, is also machine washable. It is body-con but not super-clingy, especially considering it is size XS(!). Price? $20 from Beacon's Closet. The reversible head wrap, which is solid black on one side and black and white flamingo print on the other, has a wire sewn inside so that it keeps its shape. (As I crouch over my keyboard, I'm contemplating having one of those wires surgically implanted in my spine to keep me upright!) Although the regular price is $25, I got three of these wonderfully packable and practical accessories for $33 on sale at Enz, one of my favorite East Village boutiques. Trying to find fun, reasonably priced shoes is always a tough nut to crack. I'm wearing a pair of black nylon rubber-soled Skechers, scored at an outlet in Henderson, Nevada as half of a super BOGO sale (buy one, get one free) of two pairs for $30!

So what is the grand total of this outfit? Let's summarize, shall we? Repeat after me: $15 romper; $20 shirt; $15 earrings; $11 head wrap; $15 shoes; and $5 socks, for a grand total of $81.

But wait, there's more!!!  To make this go from day into evening (so important to have quick-change options when traveling), I added a jacket and lost the shirt. I switched to another head wrap, a black and white polka dot number, to go with my thrift shop polka dot earrings.  I found the jacket at a giant sale at Maggie's, a little boutique in a giant hall to the right of the main entrance to Union Station in Washington, D.C.  It is 65% polyester and 35% cotton and is also hand washable. (I was with my ex-boss who also scored a couple of nice items on sale.)

By removing the top and the socks, I subtracted $25 from the $81 total and added $50 for the jacket. The head wrap was the same price ($11) as were the thrift shop earrings ($15), shoes ($15) and romper ($15). So, my grand total for the second look? $106!  The combined price tag for two outfits is $187, which split down the middle comes to $93.50 each. Not too shabby!

So think creatively. Clothing doesn't have to be expensive or have a designer label to make you look and feel good. And, to quote the G.F.O.S. (God Father of Soul) himself, James Brown: "I feeeel goood." Ciao, kiddies!


  1. any fashion post that quotes Mr Brown has got it going on. You look fantastic. xo

  2. Nice work Jean! Goes to show what great stuff you can find at consignment stores if you take the time to look. I would wear that jumpsuit all summer! The headscarf with the wire is a great accessory and makes you look like you have little bunny ears ;)

  3. Jean You are amazing. Where do you get all this time? Would love to see you. Nancy Barell

  4. adore your urban look.
    Saffron (Australia)