The following might disturb some of our readers with more sensitive tastes. I am who I am, and I am certainly NOT a model.
This is me, Mac Fife, doing my best to rock out an awesome sundress I found on clearance for just $1.47:
I’m also quite pregnant, and of course felt the need to take the obligatory “hold your belly and stare at it like its a wounded puppy” shot.
I obviously do not post this to show off my toned arms and rock hard abs (and believe me, right now they ARE rock hard!), but because NOW is the time to grab some awesome buys from the clearance aisle! Unfortunately, finding clothing on clearance that actually fits is a whole different matter!
Retailers know that the top selling size in women’s clothing is an 8/10. (Heck! I’d buy more clothes if I fit into that size, too!) However, did you know that the most popular size for American women is a 14? (Yay! That’s me! I feel better now!) I guess us 14’s are just slightly less motivated to shop, perhaps because of our less-than-Hollywood proportions, or perhaps just because most of us are in stages of life where new and frequent clothing purchases aren’t as necessary. Whatever the reason, the selection will always be better for the 8/10’s than for the 14’s, and, for now, we’ve just got to figure out how to live with it!
This is one of the reasons I’ve made extra effort to learn some basic sewing shortcuts. Often, I’ll find some adorable garments on clearance in the pretty plus aisle that can fit me just right if I’m ready to spend ten minutes at my sewing machine! The dress I’m wearing above was originally a XXL from Old Navy. Now, it’s just the right size for a pregnant Mac!
Earlier this spring and summer, (especially as the normal clothes and maternity clothes were BOTH fitting awkwardly) I spent a ton of time sporting this clearance rack beauty! It only took two seams and five minutes to make this my go-to outfit for summer cruising!
If you are lucky like me, you’re going to find deals at yard sales and clearances that can up your style quotient by 100’s while you only spend pennies! And when you only spend a couple dollars on a find, there’s no need to feel sheepish when you take it to the sewing machine! $2 spent on a dress you ruin is comperable to $20 spent on a professional sewing lesson or how-to book!
And once you get a little better at it, you’ll find it really takes less time to do these simple alterations at home than it does to agonize over whether the 14 or 16 is a better choice in the store dressing room.
If you don’t sew, don’t tune me out just yet! There’s still a few great tricks you can use when you realize what the problem area of your garment is.
- Too much cleavage! (Is there really such a thing…? YES!) You could layer a tank under your outfit, but, for example, in my “cruising” dress above, I just put on a larger sized shelf bra (from Walmart, in the sports bra section) over my normal bra to keep things a bit more modest. I have to do this with more and more of my regular clothes to keep my toddler from causing a wardrobe malfunction of Super Bowl proportions!
- Boxy, or waistless clothing: Put a belt on it! It might take some playing around to figure out what style of belt works best with your body. Some women that think they can’t wear belts really can, they’ve just never tried the right fit, the right placement, or the right width for their body type. You can belt low slung on the hips, just under the bust, or right across the belly button. You can use the ultra wide belts, the tiny narrow belts, or just a normal belt. Fabric? Leather? Metal? You can even try cinching things up with a satin ribbon tied in a bow! Are you nervous about calling this kind of attention to your midsection? Wear a belt under an open jacket and see if it doesn’t give you the coverage you desire, while still hinting at an hourglass figure! (Belts can get pricey, but I’ve had great luck shopping for these and other trendy little accessories at the teenybopper Forever21 store in the mall! It’s a rare case of being simultaneously trendier and cheaper than the selection at Walmart or Target!)
- A hem or neckline just doesn’t quite work? Try safety pins, rubber bands, and duct tape! Check out one of my favorite blogs, “New Dress A Day” to see how she gussies up boring thrift store necklines with a cinch and a pinch and a safety pin! She’ll also give you some great sewing lessons if you change your mind and decide you’re into that kind of thing!
- It’s a cheap buy but in the wrong season. Guess what? The pink dress I’m wearing today was purchased in NOVEMBER! It kind of fell behind my drawers at some point and I didn’t find it until last month, but that works out good for me, because last November I had no idea I’d be preggers as heck right now! But here’s the thing, even though this is technically a hot pink sun dress, don’t think for a SECOND I can’t put a belt on it, put a jacket over it, and throw some boots on with it to take me right up to my October due date! With a few new stitches and maybe a pair of warm tights I could be rocking this thing out in January! I tossed on my boots and grabbed a cute kiddo just to prove it to you:
So, there you have it. Get creative and show me how cheap YOU can dress and still look like a million bucks! My sundress makeover really required almost NO sewing experience. Be sure to visit our Facebook page, where I explained how I got the “perfect fit” and posted step by step instructions (with pictures) for my simple “restyle”. Hint: I didn’t even match my thread or break out the scissors!