Every so often we do a “Thrift Shopping Contest with Jen & Pippa” here in Houston.  Of course, our readers from all over the U.S. feel super left out and we keep hearing, “We wish we could shop with you!”  So, we came up with this great idea of doing a virtual shopping contest.  Great in theory, but there were a few challenges.  First, it is hard to shop for someone when you have never met them and that is why we asked our winner from Chicago to create a “Pinterest Look Book” so we would have clear direction as to what her tastes were.  Second, our winner was plus size, and the options for plus sized, stylish clothing are somewhat limited.  After working on this project for many weeks, and receiving positive feedback from our winner, we can definitely see that this proves that shopping with inspiration and a clear sense of your fashion needs is an effective way to shop!

BTW, we shopped at the Family Thrift OUTLET stores and we found everything for only $2.00 each!

Our winner’s inspiration Pinterest photo is on the left side in each of these pictures and our thrift store best match is next to it.

family thrift store virtual shopping contest

thrift store shopping style fashion pinterest blog cheap

thrift store shopping fashion style blog cheap

thrift store shopping houston cheap style blog

denim shirt pinterest recreation cheap blog

cheap thrift store shop blog

Keeping with the winner’s preference of longer blouses, leggings and boots, we found all of these basic tops to increase her wardrobe!

basic wardrobe thrift shop clothes cheap blog

A note from our winner, Janine P.:

“As the “Thrift Shopping Contest with Jen and Pippa” winner I was extremely excited from the beginning. I also knew there would be some challenges which these ladies overcame with great fashion….no pun intended. It was not just about being a plus size but really having “folks” shop for you that have never met you before. I would suggest for anyone to have a “look book” of all the possible items you want to find in the thrift store.

I am getting my contest winnings ready to go to the dry cleaners. After this experience with Jen and Pippa I am going to create a separate Pinterest board of all the items I am still looking for in the thrift stores. As I have decided it might take some time but it is worth the time. I believe it is not about the quantity you acquire while thrift shopping, however, the quality pieces.

Thank you Jen and Pippa your efforts were steller and I hope to meet you someday, the next time I am in Houston. Soon…if the ladies will let me…I will be sending in some photos of me wearing the wonderful items they picked from the heart.

Take care and happy shopping everyone.

Janine P-Chicago, Illinois”

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A big thank you to Family Thrift Stores for working with us on this project!

There are Family Thrift OUTLET stores in both Houston and Phoenix.

 

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Read about a few of our past contest winners:

Contest Winner’s $40 Thrift Haul. Original Retail Over $2,000!

“Teacher Style Thrift Tips” Expand your Wardrobe on a Budget Overview

Creating a Plus Size Wardrobe on a Budget ~ Private Shopping Contest Winner!

Houston-Area Constable Wins Thrift Store Shopping Spree with Too Cheap Blondes!

A Day with the Winners of the Family Thrift Center Outlet “Sneak Preview Grand Opening”

Houston MD Anderson Cancer Patient is 1 year clean!  Lets celebrate and thrift!

The winner of this month’s private shopping day with the Too Cheap Blondes at a Family Thrift Center Outlet store (where everything is priced at ONLY $2) was extra lucky!   We had chosen two other winners who were both unable to make it at the last minute.  After juggling some last minute babysitting duties, our next choice was able to make it out to meet us.

“After having two babies in less than a year and two knee surgeries after that, I gained a lot of weight.  I’ve lived in workout pants and tops because they were easy.  Now that I’ll be trying to go back to work and have lost 25 pounds, I need to find new clothing. I would prefer thrift items as I plan to continue to lose more. This would be an amazing opportunity,” our winner told us.

She was even so organized, our winner immediately emailed us her “fashion inspiration board” from Pinterest.  What a huge help this was for us to determine her style!  We wanted to find her clothes that she felt confident in, and that also showed off her figure.   We decided to look for wardrobe basics, the building blocks, that she could mix and match and that would give her the most bang for her buck.

pinterest plus size style inspiration thrift store cheap

We let our winner know that there are no dressing rooms or mirrors.  We asked her to wear something comfortable so she could try a jacket or blouse over what she was wearing.  She showed up dressed perfectly in a tank top and pair of yoga pants.

She told us that she never wears dresses but when she tried on a few, she quickly changed her mind!

Thrift Store $2 Dress .. add a jean jacket or leggings to complete your look!

Thrift Store $2 dress . . . add a jean jacket or leggings to complete your look!

All she will need to add to this $2 ensemble is a scarf and boots!

All she will need to add to this $2 ensemble is a scarf and boots!

This shadow illusion dress looked fantastic on her!  You can wear it with heels in warmer weather or body shaping tights and boots in the winter!

This shadow illusion dress looked fantastic on her! You can wear it with heels in warmer weather or body shaping tights and boots in the winter!

Add a pop of color to wear over pants or a skirt

Add a pop of color to wear over pants or a skirt

A gray maxi skirt is a basic that you can wear with almost anything!!!!

A gray maxi skirt is a basic that you can wear with almost anything!!!!

A maxi pattern skirt is another easy mix-n-match item to add to your closet!

A maxi pattern skirt is another easy mix-n-match item to add to your closet!

These light weight small patterned blouses/jackets looked great on her!

These light weight small patterned blouses/jackets looked great on her!

As always, we shared our favorite tips for thrift store shopping with our winner today.  Our first tip was to decide what your style is and assess your environment.  What is your typical day like, does it require professional or casual dress, or are you a stay-at-home mom who needs more practical, yet still stylish clothing?

Wardrobe Basics that Everyone Needs

  • A great pair of jeans (both dark and white)
  • Crew-neck sweater
  • Cardigan sweater
  • Well-fitting blazer
  • Quality white tee shirt
  • Versatile dress in a solid color
  • White button-down blouse
  • Pencil skirt
  • Trench coat
Focus on your core wardrobe pieces, then build the rest of your wardrobe around that with fun, colorful, modern and less expensive items.
  • Find style inspiration with Pinterest or magazines
  • Come up with a color palette
  • Choose staple pieces that you can change throughout the season
  • Shop with a list of items that will help you expand your wardrobe
  • Look for quality pieces
  • Re-style your classic items
  • Add a statement piece of jewelry or a scarf to change it up
  • There are many options to save money while shopping: thrift stores, online trading sites, eBay, garage sales and closet exchanges are just a few

A great resource for thrift shopping is thethriftshopper.com.  The next time you want to find a new thrift store in your area, or anywhere else, just enter the zip code on thethriftshopper.com.  The site lists all of the stores in that area, complete with their hours, location, how to sign up for their mailing lists, and even reviews from other shoppers.

For more tips and tricks, check out our “11 Thrift Store Tips”.

Remember, this whole process takes time so have fun!

Here is the link to Family Thrift Stores with all of their locations.