Cato and Goodwill Spring/Summer Purchases

Many years ago when we were deeply in debt and I needed work clothes, I learned the art of shopping clearance racks, especially at Cato Fashion stores. Nothing gave me a greater thrill than paying pennies on the dollar for something that had been well out of my price range.

It's only been this past spring that I found myself unable to afford even clearance prices...and that led me to let go of my previous prejudice about Goodwill clothing. Honestly, I can buy as good or far better quality items and at a far more affordable price for my current budget. It is a great help that there are so many plus sizes available these days in stores and so the thrift store has a good variety of things as well.

This past week I took time to look over the clearance items at Cato. I ordered four pieces. Of those four, one didn't fit to suit me but the other two tops and the scarf I bought are just perfect.

Not only was I looking for additions to my spring/summer wardrobe but I'd determined that print t-shirts/tops would give me better mileage in my at home clothes. Several people have mentioned how great prints are at disguising stains and spots that might miss being treated when laundry was done making them really ideal for at home wear. Having stained more than my share of the cheap t-shirts I was sure I could find something at the thrift store that would allow me to change up my at home wardrobe and get longer wear from them.

As I went through Goodwill, I took note of the name brands I came across. I guess even those of us who normally buy what we like because we like it, do become aware of the better quality name brands. I saw J. Jill, Kim Rogers, Ruby Red, Alfred Dunner, Talbots, Dress Barn, Banana Republic, Coldwater Creek, Chicos, and Loft, among many others. I didn't buy just according to brand name this time either but I did notice that the nicer brands often were the nicer pieces overall.

As with all things, there were better pieces and pieces that were less nice. Shopping at Goodwill is not financially costly, but it does take time. I figure I spent roughly two hours there going thru the racks (and I didn't go through them all!). I had roughly a dozen pieces in my cart. I took the time to try them on. I found that some were just not a good fit or not flattering and bought only those pieces that I was sure I'd wear.

Shopping clearance at Cato however, can take place either online or in store. Either way I'm likely to spend less than a fifteen minutes going through items. Online shopping has the added bonus of being able to put things in your cart and then wait to purchase. I like to do a three day waiting period at the very least and sometimes will wait over a week before I'll order anything that isn't necessary but I think I might like to have. If it's still available when I come back, I still have time to reconsider each item individually before purchasing. So there are advantages to both methods of shopping for reduced price clothing.

Cato Haul:
A scarf was what started the whole purchase thing at Cato. I completely forgot to get a picture of it! I loved the olive green, cream, gold and black . I will use this scarf for years upon years. Here's the image from online:

I ordered this top in both the mustard and ivory. Though the sizing said the XL and 1X were exactly the same size, the ivory one fit a little more snugly than I felt comfortable with. I'm giving that one to Bess as I feel pretty sure it will be a good fit on her post baby.

Yes, I already have a mustard colored top...two more in fact but this one is super light gauze and will be a nice summer blouse.

This next blouse was the most expensive. I bought it specifically because it will go with several different pairs of pants.

I think my total for all four pieces, including the one I passed on to Bess, averaged $9 which is reasonable enough considering I'd pay roughly the same for a t-shirt in Target. However, I knew I'd done really well at Goodwill last fall so I wanted to try my hand there once more before doing more clearance shopping!

Goodwill Haul:

My first find at Goodwill was this lovely coral cardigan from Talbot's. I love coral and last summer was my first summer without a coral piece in my wardrobe.

The buttons are really nice as well.

This will go with several pieces in my wardrobe and will be very versatile in spring when weather can be as unpredictable as winter weather.

I really loved this shirt. I can see that the facing will be a small problem but I can tack it down in a couple of places and it will be just fine. This also has a hook at the top which is nice because it allows the top to be worn with an open or closed throat.

There's pretty detailing in the beadwork:

And yes, the cardigan is a great match for this piece!

This Kim Rogers shirt is new. It still had tags on it. It is a red and black dot which didn't show up at all in my room yesterday morning. With all the rain and grey skies we've had, I'd get no pictures at all if I waited for a sunny day. This polo shirt is heavy thick cotton, not flimsy. I expect it will wear well and last for years.

This shirt has a lovely feel to it and has a very subtle trapeze fullness to it. It is a Chico's piece. This reads just red but in person it reads as a very bright RED. I think it will be stunning with black or white jeans as well as my usual ones.

Finally I have this shirt which I meant to go into my at home clothing drawer but it's brand new, too. And I think I'm going to wear it through the summer because the blue, green and khaki will mean good mileage with several pairs of pants. A button down shirt can look so crisp and nice in summer I think.

I did find one other shirt at Goodwill, which I will add to my drawer of clothes to be worn at home. It's a little big on me but I won't mind in wearing that around the house.

My purchases at Goodwill cost less than $18.

So that's my clothing haul for Spring/Summer. With what I have on hand already I don't plan to buy more tops. I am looking for white jeans and likely will end buying those at retail, since I do find white pants are very difficult to find at Goodwill. I figure I'll end spending about $30 for those. That's doable with the savings I've made elsewhere.

I'm looking forward to setting up my spring summer wardrobe at the end of March!
(C) Terri Cheney