“How do I look?” We all think about it, some of us more than others, but we do. For me, I put a fair amount of effort into my appearance. It’s really because if I let my hair be natural, someone’s soul would be eaten. It’s that evil. So, since I’m spending an hour taming my Medusa hair, I might as well put on makeup and look put together. I feel better when I like the outfit I have on.

Y’all. Being “put together” is hard, though. I can financially support myself, but sometimes spending money on things that aren’t vital to everyday life pushes the comfort of my budget boundaries. Plus, I can tell you what I like, but it doesn’t always work on my body. And I don’t have the time nor the want to go to a million places to make an outfit. So, as a newly single woman a few years back, I created my own budget and stuck to it hard. I cut where I could and stopped buying pretty much anything unless it was “used.”  My house is made up of hand-me-downs or thrift store finds. So far, it’s served my house well. For the most part, I feel like my house looks presentable.

I am lucky in that where I work is pretty casual; which helps my budget. It’s not like a buying fancy business suits! The guys at my office typically wear jeans or khakis and a polo shirt (most likely a golf shirt). The other ladies wear jeans and a wide variance of tops. I’m the only one who wears dresses/skirts. A lot of what I buy I also end up wearing on the weekends – again, helps my budget.

I’m like any other girl & love Ulta and Sephora, but I’m fine with drugstore makeup. Shout out to Physician’s Formula – my sensitive skin appreciates ya! As far as clothing goes though, I would shop mostly at a store my friend owns called Style Encore. It’s like a Once Upon a Child setup but for ladies wear. You can also sell your clothes there which has been a big help.  Or I’d cruise ThredUP (you can use my code to get $10 – HERE) to shop online for used clothes – you can also sell to them too. Y’all, second-hand really is the way to go if you’re on a tight budget. However, within the last few months I was starting to feel like my thrifty nature (at least fashion wise) wasn’t serving me as well as it had in those desperate months (umm, years?) of being on a shoestring budget. I decided to really invest in my appearance. Take the time to find pieces I like and I know I’ll wear again and again because they all go together.

I bit the bullet and decided to try Belk since they were having a sale. Keep in mind, I have not bought something in a department store for myself in a loooooong time. The Affordable Fashion Gods smiled upon me – a sale and cute clothes! I tried on countless things and ultimately got 2 cropped pants and about 4 shirts that could be worn with both pants. All pieces were from this brand I found called Crown & Ivy. It has a Lilly Pulitzer / Kate Spade feel without being so in-your-face bright or hard to match colors/patterns. But they have a lot of color choices and pieces that are meant to be mixed and matched; I decided to go with a limited color palette to ease my morning fashion woes.

Since that magical unicorn of a day, I have bought a few more Crown & Ivy pieces that all work together. I find myself constantly reaching for those things both out of ease (they all go together!) and because each piece is cute on it’s own. I finally feel like a put 2018-06-12 09.12.08together adult instead of cobbling things together to slap on my body because it was cheap. Don’t get me wrong, I still go to those thrifty places, but I’m trying to be pickier about what I end up buying. And I have been feeling much more confident because of it.

– MJ

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