$10 challenge #4 or the little black dress

and just like that...the sun came out.
yesterday, the weather was spectacular!

this dress - probably one of my favorite finds ever.
when i found this dress, it had never been worn before.  it had the original sales tag from weinstocks department store (i believe a dept store in northern california) on it with the price snipped off like it had been a gift.
it must have been hanging in someones closet for at least 20 years.  it hurt me to cut the tag off.
sleeveless, lightweight wool gabardine, made in the usa.

little black dress - $4 (assistance league thriftshop)
hue tights - $1 (marshalls)
bandolino kitten heels - $3 (thriftshop)
sunglasses - .99 - (.99 store)

total - $8.99

i think you get the idea that these kinds of posts could go on forever,
so i'll stop now.

 but here is my advice for buying second-hand...

no matter what it is you are needing/looking for - with a little time, you will find it for just a dollar or two.  patience is key.

i used to shop at yardsales and thriftshops for junk for the house and would always bypass the clothing, big mistake.  there is a veritble ocean of gorgeous, high-end clothing out there.

don't rule out clothing that doesn't fit perfectly, almost everything can be tailored, esp if it is high quality.  so that means, do not rule out the mens section.  i have found so many great things hidden in there.  belts, vests, jackets, shirts, sweaters. 
and of course if you are a man - omg, lucky you.  the mens section is brimming with great things.
not long ago alex bought a filson jacket in mint condition.  he paid $4 for it and it is currently on their website for over $300.

shop off-season.  right now at my goodwill, all sleeveless tops are 1/2 off.
that means about $1.50 a top.  think next season, think classic looks.

go often. 
people are always cleaning out their closets and decluttering (i am.)
people get rid of things for so many reasons like weight gain or loss.
that's why there is often current, awesome things there.
i find things all the time that are in stores now.

shopping second-hand is right up there with being vegan.
it is so good for the earth and for people too.
the goodwill, salvation army and many independent thriftshops help so many people get back on their feet.  last year around this time, alex and i were shopping in the salvation army when a man who was down on his luck came in looking for warm clothing.  the store employee's sprang into action and got him a warm coat and sweaters and a hot lunch.  they got him foods easy to eat and carry in his backpack.  alex and i stood in awe as they helped this gentleman.
he was so thankful.
i don't know about you but nothing like this ever happened when i shopped at nordstrom.



  1. Janet,

    This may be my favorite look so far! Very classy!

    And your arms look so toned! :)


  2. Another lovely look and I too spotted your arms, I lift weights three times a week and have next to no tone.
    I really love your hairstyle!

  3. Love the dress! Great find! Good tips too.

    I am jealous it is sunny where you are, it is snowing where I am! (in Canada, go figure)

  4. A couple more hints:
    #6 Always look carefully in the black section of racks...people are lazy and the sea of black is hard to search through, most people bypass it and you can find gems there.

    #7 If the store separates by size, always look in the larger sizes, there has been a huge change in sizing standards in American clothes and a vintage size 12 will fit today's size 6!

    This has been a fun 'series', Janet---don't stop!

  5. Great dress Janet. There's something so ladylike, and yet so tough, to a sleeveless shift. Let's hear it for those, what are they, trapezius? :)

  6. Hi Janet,

    Great finds! I LOVE the dress. You have eye for beautiful things.

    Happy new week,

    Madelief x

  7. Oh my goodness you have been killing me with these posts. You look amazing in everything! Killer arms too! I think you need to host a "shop with Janet" weekend where we all fly in and you show us how to go treasure hunting.

  8. The Salvation Army are amazing. Our son's friend had a drug addiction. They took him in, housed him, fed him, detoxed him, drug tested him and rehabilitated him. He is now clean 18 months and has a jog. They're angels. A great cause to support.

    And your outfit is charming. And yes, that tag is old school...must be a vintage dress.

  9. I agree with everyone, you look great in everything. I do love this look the most and you do have fabulous arms.

  10. Uber chic and Uber Thrify.. You are looking Fab-U-Lous Janet in these Under $10 specials.. Amazing. XX

  11. Incredibly classy.
    Incredibly stunning.
    Ironic because I just wrote about the same thing on Friday. I have thrifted for over 1/2 of my life and some of the most incredible things I own are secondhand.

  12. Janet, thanks for the tips and tricks for thrift shopping for clothes. I believe you when you say that you will find what you are looking for, and perhaps that's the way to go about it? To have what you want in mind? Or do you keep possibilities open to anything?

  13. Truly peachy!

    If I ever get to California will you take me thrift shopping, pretty please??!

  14. You look fantastic. I love the last line. You are a gem.

  15. I hope you breakfasted at Tiffany's in this outfit.

  16. Wow! What a steal. You look fab.

  17. Love that you're shopping Thrift Stores that benefit the hungry and homeless. I would enjoy seeing your outfits-under-$10-posts anytime (:

  18. I totally agree you would never find help like that in a department store! That dress is the bomb.

  19. LOVE that dress--great find! You are so right--shopping 2nd hand is right up there with being vegan. About 3 weeks ago at a local thrift shop run by the Episcopal church I found a great wooden salad bowl for $1.00-! I got a glass vase reminiscent of one I lost in the fire for $2.00 ! I also found 3 handmade pottery mugs for 50 cents each - I bought them for pencil cups.

  20. I have really enjoyed $10 challenge posts. It inspired me to go to the assistance league thrift shop to look for a winter coat for an up coming trip to London. Since I also live in So. Cal., I never have need for a coat around here and just make due with blazers and other jackets. I found an Eileen Fisher coat with the tags still on it for $25 dollars. I realize that I won't win the $10 challenge, but I am so happy! It is beautiful, and the original price was over $400!

  21. Great look, great tips, and great story. We have been to a few thrift stores and consignment stores since we moved here.

  22. I like your classy, less than $10 look. I keep looking and will be patient!

  23. Oh wow! a basic black wool dress - with the right accessories you can go anywhere in that dress.
    Please keep posting about your clothes... (and your house and your garden and your hair...) ;)
    You cannot believe how much you have inspired me.
    SF Bay Area

  24. I want to add that when we were rebuilding our home that burned I shopped at a great 2nd hand place called "Consignment Classics". In my area there were 2 locations. I found 2 wonderful Louis XV chairs, 2 mirrors, a console table, some stools, an animal print arm chair and some end tables. These things were all in beautiful condition and cost-wise were great bargains!

  25. Love the $10 challenge outfits. Would love to see more ... You have a really great eye for style in every aspect of your life!

    Shelley Rose

  26. You look fabulous!! Like Jackie O.
    Do you mind me asking what your favorite thrift store in your area is? We are picking up a puppy from a breeder in your area, and I would love to check out some thrift stores on the way there.

    Thank you!
    Carol in S.D. county

  27. First...Janet you have fabulous arms! I go to Bar method 5x a week and my arms should like that...sadly no. Love this dress and the entire look. And thank you for your advice on shopping second hand...I'm going to head out there this week and find something fabulous--for a great a deal! Went to the flea market in Irvine this morning...so hopeful. They say rain or shine, but they pack up early. Can't really blame them. Please don't stop---we love your fashion posts!


  28. Hi Janet, another terrific post! I for one am not at all tired of seeing your less than $10 outfits. It really inspires me to shop thrift stores, just wish I could find some good ones in our area.

    You're right about Weinstocks, it was a staple in the greater San Francisco/Sacramento area years ago. I almost cried when they closed down. Most of the buildings were taken over by Macy's, that's one of the reasons some of our malls in Northern Cal have 2 Macy's stores, one is generally Men's and Home Goods, the other is everything else.

    Your story about the Salvation Army employees who helped the man down on his luck was beautiful - it's one of the reasons why I like to donate to and shop at thrift stores.

    Barbara in Lodi

  29. Ohh la la! Gorgeous, Janet!

  30. Don't hate me for this but you're definitely channeling Nina van Horn, whom I love BTW. FABULOUS

  31. First, please don't stop with challenge #4. This is a fun series, and I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I'd like to see more. Second, I love your reasons for shopping at thrift stores and yard sales. Right on! Third, that dress is awesome. Love the all-black look on you.

    Please consider posting challenge number 5 ... and 6 ...

  32. carol - my favorite thrift shops are the gw, salv army and the assistance league. they are all on the same street, colton ave in redlands. there are a few more but they are a little further away with limited hours.

  33. barbara - i think i would have liked weinstocks.

    kelly - that is so funny about nina van horn. i loved her too. my gf's used to tell me i was just like her. i "think" it was a compliment?!

  34. Janet you are TOO CUTE! You look great in all these outfits and you have the best hair!! I am new to your blog but it's one of my favorites. Thank you, I've been inspired to stop paying retail and hit the yard sales.


  35. I love this outfit Janet. So effortlessly chic. And I love your commitment to buying vintage/second-hand. Clearly you don't have to sacrifice style to be good to the planet and all the beings living on it!

  36. Janet you look gorgeous and that story about the man is just one of so many that op shops help and support.
    And I thought Nina Van Horn too!!

  37. I really like your story about the man being helped out at the Salvation Army. I believe it is our duty to help others when we can, and shopping or donating to these types of places is truly a good thing. But I'm wondering, where do you put all of these things? You have so generously shared your home and closet with us, but you really don't seem to have a lot of storage. How do you keep everything so neat and clutter free? Loving the photos, and you look super.

  38. Janet,
    You look agazing as usual in your LBD. And thanks for sharing the shopping tips with us. I am so inspired by your story at the salvation army. I had a hectic day today, and I needed something to put life back into perspective - your story did it! Thank you for such an insightful post!

  39. You are my thrift shop goddess and whatever you do to get those amazing arms you must share...
    You remind me of the gracious jackie O.

  40. This look looks like it was made for you! Fantastic. The only thing that you could possibly add to take it to the next level would be a multi-strand faux pearl necklace reworked from old strands you had sitting around. Don't you just wish that could show up one of these days :)....

  41. This is a gorgeous dress on you and thanks so much for the great tips.
    I have loved this series.

  42. Gorgeous....we had a Weinstocks back in the 90's in Utah loved that store! Beautiful story...and your right you'd never see that kind of service in Nordstroms!

  43. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

  44. Thank you so much for letting me know the locations of your favorite thrift stores! I will check them out (dragging my husband behind me.) I have enjoyed lurking on your blog for a while now and you are such an elegant woman with beautiful taste in fashion and in your home. Gorgeous!! I join the others in saying please continue your under 10.00 series!


  45. Anna Wintour WATCH out!
    This is my kind of chic along with my kind of price.
    I love that it is full of social graces and money cannot buy that!
    As always I treasure your comments.

  46. That dress is awesome and you can wear it with everything! Reminds me of Jackie K.

  47. Just like the little black dress...Perfection.
    -Suzanne in Illinois

  48. Janet, I am truly inspired by you and have begun a decluttering frenzy since I started reading your blog about a month ago. I am so fed up with never knowing what I have in my closet, always pulling out the same outfits. I want to simplify, to have less things in my life. I live half the world away in Singapore and i just wanted to say that you are an inspiration even way over here. Thank you so much!

  49. I like what hostess said. You are the thrift shop goddess :).

    I love what you find and everything you wear looks great, but I'm afraid I don't have the figure to succeed at thrifting (not much selection above size 10-12), and anyway loathe spending time shopping, so I'd rather take the slow road and sew myself pieces that really fit.

  50. I loved seeing this challenge! We are veteran thrifters here at our house, and love that we're also giving back to a good charity. Last week my hubby got a gorgeous, brand new land's end coat for $10, and I found a lovely faux-fur trimmed suede jacket for the same. I would rather give my $$ to Goodwill any day than the nicest department store! Great blog, I'm so glad to have found you through MMM.
    Cheers, Andrea


kindness is never out of style.

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