I would just like to preface this post by saying that I don’t mean for these photos to give you a real sense of what I purchased on this trip, they’re more for decoration of the post than anything else. My plan is to capture the actual outfits while I’m wearing them later on. This post is specifically to mention that at long last I have had a thoroughly successful shopping trip! Hooray!

Dallas is a great place to bargain shop if you know where to go. Having spent the first 28 years of my life in one small metroplex, to say that I still don’t know my way around DFW would be a huge understatement. For this trip I decided to be PrettySmart and enlist the help of a tour guide.  I cannot emphasize enough, this makes a world of difference!

The friend/co-worker I took along with me knew all of the best places to find what I was looking for and that would work for my budget, I was both thrilled and amazed!

We visited Grapevine Mills Mall (an interesting sort of indoor outlet mall) and The Parks Mall. Over the years I’ve learned not to judge a garment based solely on the way it looks on the hanger, but to try things on before I decide on them. Some of the best looking clothes on a curvy body look absurd on a hanger. This same rule can apply to stores as well.

I’m an aesthetics kind of person, in many cases I base where I shop on things like the look of the store, the way it’s organized, the lighting (I’m not kidding, lighting should honestly be the first thing on this list). I have found myself deciding in the first 30 seconds of walking into a store whether or not it has anything to offer me and in most cases turn and walk immediately out. This is detrimental to budget shopping. It would be awesome if all stores made lighting and visual appeal to suit my personal tastes a priority, but this isn’t realistic. And especially not in outlets or discount stores. In an environment where the objective is to get rid of as much product as possible as quickly as possible, ambiance is simply not going to play a major role in the shopping experience.

To successfully shop on a budget a person like myself must determine to move past that initial urge to turn around and walk out, and instead roll up your sleeves and dig. It helped me to think of it as being on a hunt for diamonds. =)

The majority of my time and money was spent in the JC Penny outlet store. Now, JC Penny’s doesn’t even make my list of go-to department stores to begin with and at first glance the outlet would have definitely been a turn-around-and-walk-out situation if it had not been for the gentle prodding of my tour guide. Fortunately, her guidance proved wise and after some hunting I found exactly what I was looking for and for much less than I had been prepared to spend! This method of forgoing the urge to cringe and walk out based on first impressions also has its rewards, I spent so little money on the list I came with that at the end of the day I could afford a splurge item!

In the end I spent right around $150 and got:

  • 2 pair of slacks
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • a blazer
  • 3 blouses
  • a cotton jacket
  • a sweater
  • 2 bras
  • slim wear
  • a necklace
  • a watch
  • and my splurge item- Marc Jacobs sunglasses from Nordstrom Rack