For this week’s Sassy Fashionista lesson, I gave myself a tight budget and a simple fashionista mandate.

With my ongoing commitment to spending less, shopping my closet more, and paying more attention to sustainable fashion, I set out yesterday to T.J. Maxx to add a few simple seasonal pieces still missing from my fall wardrobe.

But I had to do it while spending no more than $100.


Remember that?

Shopping with money instead of a credit card makes you think more carefully about what’s going into your cart. Because if you don’t have the bucks, stuff has to go back on the racks.

Even if it makes you cry.

Not an easy adventure when you’re used to buying whatever you want because you are using plastic. It was an important fashion reminder I needed about being more fiscally responsible, focusing less on my wants, and more on basic needs.

Impulse buying is costly, and it often results in big fashion mistakes. I’ve donated lots of those mistakes with the tags still on them in the past, something I’m trying hard to change at this point in my life.

Better late than never.

I grabbed my T.J. cart and quickly headed for the lingerie department, where there are often good finds for basics like socks, undies and pajamas. I was hoping to find warm, thin layers for the upcoming frigid weather, preferably Cuddl Duds, a familiar brand. I got lucky because there were some great layering pieces left in my size, and these items often go fast and are tougher to find later in the season.

I placed a black, long-sleeved Cuddl Duds top and a gray long-sleeve Danskin piece into my cart for a total cost of just under $30. (not seen in this post).

Next, I headed to the active wear section for yoga pants, determined not to get caught up in the pricey workout-wear market that includes brands like Luluemon.

I had three requirements for the exercise wear. It had to be quality fabric, comfortable (not tight on the gut ever again), hopefully stylish (so I could wear the pieces out and still look liked I tried), and in shades of brown or warm shades of red (a pop of much-needed fall color), my current fashion-color obsessions.

I scored two pairs of pants in a lovely chocolate-brown shade, one by Jockey and one in a brand with which I was not familiar. They were $16.99 each, for a total of just under $34.00. Then, I found a soft, warm, and lightweight sweatshirt by Calvin Klein (always good quality and stylish to boot) in a lovely, rich berry color for $24.99. I’m not a big fan of sweatshirts, especially heavy pieces. I find them to be very unflattering on most people. Calvin Klein pieces are often more easily dressed up, and the berry color I found was delicious. It went into my cart.

Before tax, my haul was now just under $90.

I was feeling pretty smug about my choices, disciplined, too, as I headed to the checkout. But on the way there, I found a lovely unlined, part-wool, brown coat by Tahari, (a great brand), for only $59.99 (the original tag stated a price of $120). It was the only one they had, and it was in my size. Medium.

Remember the challenge of impulse buying that often gets you on the way out?

Yeah. That happened here.

This was a transitional piece I’d been looking for (with pockets to boot!) for those times when you need warmth, but it’s not quite heavy coat weather, yet. This gem went in the cart because I knew I’d regret not getting it as soon as I got home, and that was an hour away.

This could have been that moment when something had to go back on the rack. I was now $50 over budget. But I also had a return for $50 that required an in-store credit. So, with that return, I ended up about even and salvaged my tight budget.

No plastic was harmed in the making of this decision, and I love all the pieces I got. I admit it was freeing to leave with just one bag with items originally targeted. I was grateful I’d returned a past purchase (mistake) that allowed me to get the great Tahari coat that I know I will wear on repeat in the future.

All in all, this was a great shopping trip. I was a responsible Sassy Fashionista, and now I plan to make increasingly thoughtful purchases in the future. Fashion/fiscal lessons learned.

I also added this cute little rose clip recently purchased from Free People to sweeten the look of my newly purchased casual gear. Empowering choices.

And yes. I’m still wearing my fav black, Big-Buckle Birkies. I’ll most likely do that until the snow and ice hit the ground. I’m a barefoot-Hippie-girl-in-the-garden gal at heart.

How hard is it for you to stick to a budget when you go shopping for clothes/accessories? Can you just say no?

Winter Images 2023. All rights reserved. All photos/promos are my own.