30 Days 30 Outfits Challenge

Welcome to Jen’s 30 in 30 Challenge.

Why this challenge: I have lots of clothes however there are days when I can’t find anything to wear therefore I resort to the same articles of clothing and they become part of my regular rotation. The same black pants, I have four pairs. There have been times I wore black pants twice in the same week. I should give them a rest.  There are clothes I have I have never worn the idea is to wear them this month.  And besides I thought it would be fun to challenge myself. I saw somewhere a woman challenged herself to wear the same 30 pieces of clothing for 30 days. I’m not quite ready for that yet. Baby steps. I want to wear the clothes I own.

What are the rules: These are the rules and if anyone wants to join me please let me know. I’d love to have a partner in this challenge

1.For 30 days repeating any item of clothing is not allowed. (there are exceptions-underwear, hosiery, athletic shoes & gear, PJ’s and walk the dog clothes).

2. This challenge does include Shoes. I have more than 80 pairs of shoes but there are only about 5 pairs that I wear regularly.  To give myself some reprieve I will not wear the same shoes more than twice in a week although I will strive for even less.

3. This challenge includes weekends and jeans. Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE jeans and I have about 20 pair. I have two pairs I wear all the time. My commitment is that any jeans I don’t wear this month will go to the May swap or Goodwill. My jean collection is insane.

3. Not allowed to incorporate any new items. For example I’m certain I will find wonderful items at the upcoming swap and when I make my Goodwill run next week. Nope those arent allowed in the 30 day rotation.

***I have one thing working in my favor. The temperature for the next 3 days will be quite “fall like”. I will take advantage of this and wear boots through the weekend. Also I acquired 4 really cute dresses at last week’s Tossed and Found and I will be rocking those for sure.

Ok here we go…….Wish me luck

Day 4 Spring Cleaning and Swap Prep

Day #4 Spring cleaning

Today I began to assess all the clothing still in suitcases and boxes since I moved on into my new place. And let’s be honest the jackets and pants hanging on door hooks and back of chairs. I tackled those things this evening along with one basket of laundry left over from Sunday’s wash. I think that’s enough for tonight. I decided not to bother the hall closet with all the coats. They are relatively organized. (for now)

WHOA!!! I found this bag and it was full of clothes I had in storage! guess what inside was 2 coats, 2 jackets and a suit. All going to the swap. The rest needed alterations.

I separated these items that need alterations. My next sewing project and the title of one of our May Sewing Classes for Burda Style Sewing Club

Swap Prep Day #4  The Swapping Mindset

Being a good swapper is not easy

1. Each swap is a gamble – You might not get as much as you put in or your might gain more than you planned.

2. Swaps can be overwhelming. This can be discouraging. So take your time and rest in between visits to tables

3. Take a friend or two with you. Four eyes are better than two. You will be surprised what your friend will find that you might have missed

4. Keep an open mind. This refers back to #1. If you arrive early you might not see much. Hang around and watch who is bringing more items. You might find something great after an hour. So take a break and walk to your car and back.

5. Don’t spend a lot of time checking each piece out. First make sure you like the style, second check the brand. Brand is key (will address that in #6) 3rd Check the size, 4th make sure its clean. Then put it in your bag. Continue doing this until you feel like you have accumulated enough.

6. Brand is important. Especially if you are shopping for work clothes. Designer label clothing holds up much better than more inexpensive clothing (mainly suits). I always shop the brand. You will get more wear out of gently worn Banana Republic, Liz Claiborne, Ann Taylor, Gap etc than Kate Smith and Merona.  Now if you are looking for jeans, t-shirts, tops to throw, lightweight summer dresses and sweaters you can be a little more liberal. I have some great gently worn Target items such as shirts etc. Don’t discount anything. It might have potential.

7. Lastly: At a good swap they will provide mirrors and a dressing area. Take your stash and head over to the mirror. Start trying things on to make sure they fit. Remember if you can’t wear it and its nice there might  be a friend who can.

Below are my bags of stuff going to the swap. There will be more tomorrow.

Day 3 Spring Cleaning and Swap Prep

Sorry folks I missed posting yesterday. I was so tired after rearranging the closets I fell asleep. Therefore there will be three posts tonight. (Day 3 &4 and one additional post – maybe if I can stay awake)

Spring Cleaning Day #3:

So last night my bed looked like this after I pulled everything out

Now, all the clothing that was previously in the closets has been returned to their proper places. I still have some clothes in boxes and in garment bags. I will handle those items on Sunday after the swap. Maybe. But for now everything has a place 🙂

Challenges: It’s really really hard to get rid of items I have had for years. I havent worn these things. then why can’t I let them go. Sigh…..

Below are the after photos of the closets.


All the suits in one closet. so  nice and neat. No more plastic


All the blouses and Jackets in one closet. Jackets fit nicely in the back.


Skirts, Slacks and dresses on the rack. With room to spare. Ended up putting the jacket overflow on the racks

Whew!! What a project

Swap Prep Day #3

I only managed to pull 4-5 pieces from my closets. I kept thinking I will wear this and somethings I said to myself “I’ve had this on in the last year” or I would have worn this is my closets were organized” Well there is always the May swap……. Ok Advice for day Three??  Stop being in denial. Get rid of all that stuff you haven’t worn. Especially those shoes and don’t forget about accessories. Bag those up. Bring a smaller bag to the swap to place smaller items in.

My stash…..Its getting bigger and bigger! Will post pics tmrw. (Tomorrow we’ll talk Swap State of Mind)

Day 2 Spring Cleaning and Swap Prep

Spring Cleaning Day #2

Today I removed everything from all closets. The clothing on the rack stays in tact and I only removed items which don’t belong. Whew! what a task. Now time to separate suits, blouses, skirts and pants. Tomorrow I will replace all items. Right now I’m sleepy and going to bed.

Swap prep Day #2

The first reason to remove everything from the closet it to put it in the place it belongs. The second reason is to remove what is going to the swap and Goodwill. Below is the start of a pile of clothes I’m taking to the swap this weekend. This pile is growing quickly. Shoes still in their original boxes, sweaters with tags and a few shirts and blouses I haven’t worn in at least two years. You’ll see the final pile on Saturday.

My recommendation for anyone attending a swap: Start filling up plastic bags full of clothes. Make sure they are clean, stain and odor free. If it’s not an item you wouldn’t give to your girlfriend don’t bring it to the swap 🙂

Spring Closet Cleaning/ Swap Prep Day 1 of 5

Although I’m a little late getting started with my spring cleaning I figured this would be a good time to get things going.

#1 I just shopped till I could drop this past weekend at Tossed and Found

#2 I will headed to Frugal Fashionista’s Clothing Swap on Sunday

#3 On April 1st I begin 30 outfits in 30 days.  (separate blog post)

it’s looking like I need to make room in my closets quickly. First things first. Assess what I have and where is the best place for it to go.


The goal will be to organize my closets by Saturday night and prepare for this weekends clothing swap. Wish me luck

Closet #1 – Before


This closet will be used for suits only

Closet #2 – Before

This closet will be used for blouses, tops and sweaters on top

Closet #3 (actually not a closet)

this is a clothing rack I keep in my second bedroom because my closets are so small. this rack will hold my pants and dresses

My recommendations for the perfect Swapping bags

Suitcases are ideal mainly because they are on wheels and expand
A carry on bag that you would use on a trip is a great swap bag
Make sure you take a large bag with straps. This was a bag from a bedding set I bought. Perfect for swapping.

Silver Spring Sewing Sisters, Burda Style Sewing Club

Today Silver Spring Sewing Sisters – Burda Style Sewing Club  (BSSCSS) held the second beginning sewing class at the Wheaton Library in Wheaton, MD. We had a great class with great participation. Students practiced straight stitching, top stitching, learned to take their measurements and read a guide sheet.

We are looking forward to our next MeetUp for the “Designer Showcase”. We are inviting all members  of BSSCSS who have sewn items they are proud of to bring them and “show and tell”.  Designers, professional seamstresses, novices and those who have made one or two items are all welcome. Come share with the group one or more of your designs and tell us about what inspired you to create these items.

Join us for Designer Showcase MeetUp- April 17th

A Frugal Girls Heaven! Tossed and Found…..

This weekend was the mother of all weekends for Sew Frugal and Fashionable. Mega Bargain & Thrift City came and plopped itself down in Crystal City this weekend by way of the Junior League club, “Tossed and Found”.

Day one, Friday was “Preview Night”. From 7-9pm we had a chance to peruse all the items  from furs, to furniture to glassware. This was overwhelming, exciting and exhausting all at the same time. With the help of 3 friends I ran into midway through shopping I walked away with a suede coat for $20, an AK Spring coat for $20, 2 skirts for $15 and two designer suits for $35. Day two, Saturday by mid-day everything was 1/2 off!!! REALLY??? Amazing. I went back Saturday afternoon and ran into my friend Courtney and stayed until they closed at 5pm. I found 4 pairs of designer pants for $7 each. 4 skirts for $5 each, 5 blouses for $2.50 each (I even picked up a shirt for my friend Lily). I found an embroidered coat for $10 and I went home with a smile :-). Day three, Sunday is when we darn near lost our minds. I met up with Lily and we bought a big plastic garbage bag and filled it to capacity for $40 buckaroos!!! and I can’t even begin to tell you all we stuffed in there. I bought things from 2 piece suits to items that I’m planning to use in some special craft projects. It was insane on the last day. Women were dragging around carts and pushing boxes. Everyone protecting their stash in various corners of the room.  The best way to shop at one of these types of events is to take a friend. This way you can keep your eye out for each other. What a fun frugal weekend we had! Can’t wait until next year. Be sure to save this link for The Junior League of Washington so you too can attend the event next year.

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5 Thrifty Things to do this weekend

Looking for some events to attend this weekend? Sew Frugal has 5 things you can add to your agenda

Friday, March 25th




Closet Runway brings you an exciting real runway experience with cutting-edge, unique fashions and trends from boutiques, designers, and retail stores. We will present style makeovers and provide fashion and styling tips to help you put together your own signature runway style.  You will see how to mix some of your classic wardrobe staples, vintage pieces, and past season favorites with the current season’s new styles to get more options out of your wardrobe. Discover your inner fashion trailblazer, be entertained by featured guest artists, shop with emerging businesses and network.

Whether you are a fashionista, trendsetter, fashion newbie or just want to have a good time, you’ll enjoy the Closet Runway experience.

See you there…where ready-to-wear fashion and the runway meet!

Closet Runway is a fashion event with a cause. We donate part of our proceeds to charities benefiting our community and those in need.


Also on Friday, March 25th

TOSSED AND FOUND sponsored by Junior League of Washington, DC

We mentioned this event in an earlier blog post but its definitely worth mentioning again. Visit Tossed and Found for more information

Come Search for Fabulous Finds at the 19th Annual Tossed & Found Sale! The Junior League of Washington’s largest annual spring fundraiser is a three-day sale offering bargain shoppers quality pre-owned house wares, fashions, books, sporting goods, electronics, and furniture. Tens of thousands of items! We hope you will join us for our Hoops & High Heels Preview Night Party to kick off the weekend in style with food, drinks, March Madness basketball games on big screen TVs and silent and live auctions packed with amazing items!

What: The 19th Annual Tossed and Found Sale

Why: To Search for “Fabulous Finds” While Supporting JLW’s Literacy Programs

Where: The Crystal City Shops (2100 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202)

When: “Hoops & High Heels” Preview Night Party: Friday, March 25, 2011, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.  Click here to purchase tickets.

General Shopping Hours: Saturday, March 26, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 27, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 26th


Last week we visited Nana’s shop and we can’t wait to get back there this weekend. See below for the link and more info.

Excerpted from NANA’s

Join us for our RE-OPENING CELEBRATION this Saturday March 26, 2011starting at 11 a.m.! Shoppers will receive a FREE gift with purchase. The shop’s namesake — my Nana — is traveling from Boston for the occasion. My dear friend Erica & her colleagues at Charm City Cakes are bringing us a super cake (I can’t wait to see what amazing creation she design! We’ll probably cut the cake around 4p!). If the weather is agreeable, Pleasant Pops are joining in the fun by bringing their amazing popsicle creations.

Sooo, here’s the new shop info:

3068 Mount Pleasant Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
p 202-667-6955

Shop hours:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 12p – 7p
Saturday 11a – 5p / Sunday 12p – 5p
Closed Tuesdays

I’m looking forward to celebrating with everyone! Join us!

Sunday, March 27th

JUMP START YOUR SEWING MACHINES!!! Burda Sewing Club of Silver Spring

Very focused

Hi Ladies!! Let’s jump start our Sewing Machines. only $8 for the class

It’s spring and we could all use some new clothes in our wardrobes.

A few of you missed the first class and others have mentioned that you are interested in learning the basics of sewing and want to get back into the “se-wing” of things. Well this is the perfect class for you!

Our 2nd sewing class will be March 27th at the Wheaton Public Library from 2:00pm-4:00pm. The introductory fee for each class is $8. This fee will cover the cost of the room and some supplies and handouts which will be provided to you for the class. There will be a sign posted in the hallway as you come in the door. Feel free to bring a friend just be sure to RSVP for both of you.

Those who attended our first class last week are welcomed to come back. You will work on a separate project to enhance your sewing skills.

One last and final frugal thing to do this weekend and you can do it from home. Visit Shop Goodwill.com

I recently checked out the site and found some fabulous designer suits and dresses. Since I’m in the process of weaning myself from thrift and Goodwill over the next three months I will refrain from visiting the site this weekend 🙂


Weekend Bag project

Last weekend I decided to take on three bag projects. Unfortunately with all the thrift store visiting I was only able to get around to one bag.  In our upcoming sewing class in May attendees will have the option of completing one of three bags. This will be one of them.

To begin you will need to think about what you want to use your bag for. Are you trying to match with another piece of clothing?  Are you going for utility? Do you want large or small? Perhaps you are using scraps of fabric and other add-ons to make more interesting. The choice is yours, just be sure to think it through before you get started. Remember at some point you will need to sew through all thickness therefore be sure to choose your fabric wisely. Below you will find illustrated step by step directions for creating this bag. Should take about 2-3 hours from start to finish if you are a novice.

Happy sewing 🙂

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My 80 day check in

Monday, March 21st marked the 80th day of my 365 day challenge to abstain from shopping at any department, clothing, specialty or high-end retail stores for 1 year. This  includes shoes and accessories. Yeah even shoes……but I have a great solution for that. I’ll share with you later.

Brand new boots - Free

There are three reason for this self-imposed challenge.

1. I have more than enough clothes in my closet. I’m a borderline clothes hoarder and not ashamed of it 🙂 well maybe a little bit.

One of my racks of Fab Finds

2. I’m a seamstress by trade. Therefore every time I’ve ever needed a pair of pants, skirt  or other outfit to wear I literally would make something in one night to satisfy my needs. My schedule doesn’t permit me to sew any more but that’s not and issue I have plenty custom made clothing at my disposal.

3. Cost savings. I realized at this point in my life I should do a better job at saving and building that nest egg.  If I cease shopping for the year I could save thousands of dollars.

Clothing Swap - Frugal Fashionistas

The last 80 days……(and my great discovery)

I will admit the first couple weeks were a bit shaky. Therefore I’m taking this challenge to Jan 3, 2011 due to some things I had hiccups I had to work around at the beginning of the year.

You might ask what about underwear and other necessities. Fortunately one of my beast girlfriends and I found a great sale at the end of 2010 at Hanes Outlet. We found underwear priced at 75% off. We stocked up and won’t have to buy any for at least a year. This includes camisoles and other foundations. What a great buy. Which leaves me with the hosiery dilemma. I haven’t figured out how to get around that so they go on my “exception list”.

When I began this challenge I had the following in my regular rotation,  20 suits, 5 skirts, 12 pairs of pants, 4 dresses and about 80 pairs of shoes. Take note I said my regular rotation. This doesn’t count all the excess I had on hand. I began gathering this stuff up and placing it into bags for goodwill and to take to upcoming clothing swaps.

Since incorporating swaps, goodwill and consignment shops to expand my wardrobe I’ve not missed a beat. In fact 75% of what I have acquired has been brand new and designer labels. Way to go me!!

Anne Klein suit $7.49, BCBG Blouse $3.98

I would rate my progress with this challenge about a 7. Almost 3 months in and veered off course 2 times.  Once I went but did not spent a dime in a department or specialty store and the 2nd time I fell off the wagon but it was worth it. For my birthday a friend gave me a gift card for Syms and I picked up a dress during their twice a year “Bash” where everything in the store is on sale. Staying true to being frugal, always. Then I slipped up one other time and bought a suit, blouse and jeans at a store that was going out of business and everything was 75%  or more off. I didn’t spend more than $30. I just couldn’t pass it up. Everything else I acquired adhering to the challenge.

My great discovery

I attended the Green Living Expo last weekend and sat in on a Seminar on “Thrifty Fashion” when I learned about The Great American Apparel Diet. You got it, a clothing diet. Whouda thunk it???  No shopping AT ALL. Nuthin’, Nada, Ziltch, Zero! hmmmm, am I ready for this? Well I joined today and will add this new challenge beginning in July which will mark my personal half way point.  Check it out for yourself. I dare any of my friends 🙂

Oh and as for the shoe challenge, I’m attending a “shoe swap” in May. That should cover my footwear needs for the remainder of the year!

Stay tuned for my ramped up challenges for April and June. In April I will attempt to wear a different item of clothing everyday. including shoes. A friend suggested I try this. It’s gonna get interesting………

Junior League hosts “Tossed and Found”

I’ve heard this is the best rummage sale you will find in this area. I missed it last year however I purchased my ticket early this year and I can’t wait to check it out.

From  Junior League of Washington
The Junior League of Washington’s largest annual spring fundraiser is a three-day sale offering bargain shoppers quality pre-owned house wares, fashions, books, sporting goods, electronics, and furniture. Tens of thousands of items—including, but not limited to: furniture, electronics, clothing, books and kitchen wares. All items are available at amazing discounts. All goods sold at Tossed and Found are donated by the generous members, friends, and community partners of the Junior League of Washington, and all proceeds benefit the Junior League’s targeted grants and community programs.

We Are Staying GREEN! For a third year, the sale that recycles used goods back into the community now recycles items used to make the sale happen. In 2010, We recycled 35 pallets of cardboard, 18 bags of paper, 15 bags of plastic, aluminum and glass and 8 bags of plastic bags. We also donated 57 bags of clothes and other items to Goodwill. It’s a fitting effort for a sale that recycles quality goods into the community by collecting donated items and selling them at deep discounts.

See you there my frugal friends!!!!

A Sunday Stroll through Vintage, Consignment and 2nd Hand stores in DC

What a very busy weekend for Sew Frugal & Fashionable. Today Lily and I met up again to stop by some key places we have been following over the past couple months. There is no way to get through them all in a day but we did the best we could in a couple of hours. She is a great shopping partner and knows how to get in and out in a flash. We visited 3 Stores in DC: Black Eyed Susie, Nana’s and Frugalista. All stores were fantastic and afforded us with great shopping experiences.

First stop was Black Eyed Susie:

Black-Eyed Susie’s is DC’s newest used clothing and accessory retailer. Located in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, Black-Eyed Susie’s provides the community with affordable, gently used clothing and accessories for men and women. Black-Eyed Susie’s will provide an opportunity for individuals to buy and sell wearable, in-fashion and current with the trend clothing and accessories. http://www.blackeyedsusiedc.com/

Our second stop Nana’s:

Nana is a women’s clothing shop in Washington, DC inspired by all things vintage, modern, handmade, and ethically made with each piece it carries being perfect for work & play. http://www.nanadc.com/

And last but not least Frugalista:

Frugalista is the second hand shop of Mt. Pleasant. Providing a clean and friendly atmosphere where you can get your frugal on. All items are individually priced at great discounts and there is always something unique. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Frugalista/72923401499?sk=wall

Goodwill Traveling Trunk Show

My “swapping buddy” Lily and I finally had a chance to attend the Goodwill Traveling Trunk show this weekend at the Ace Green Living Expo in Arlington VA and we had a fun time. We had a chance to meet the DC Goodwill Fashionista!! (http://www.fashionofgoodwill.org/blog/) How cool is that?  During her similar she discussed various ways you can refresh your wardrobe and be creative with swapping, sewing and minor alterations. Lily and I picked up a few items and learned about all the cool ways to have an even more thrifty yet fashionable lifestyle (you will see those later in the blog).  Next week Sew Frugal will give some helpful hints on how to get the most out of your Goodwill Shopping experience. Below are some snapshots from our visit to the Trunk Show! Enjoy!

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BurdaStyle Sewing Club BSC

It is with great joy we announce that Silver Spring Sewing Sisters is now a member of the BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs (BSC). We are Official. BurdaStyle Sewing Clubs are a place for members of BurdaStyle.com to meet in-person, share sewing tips and have fun together!

Be sure to stop by our page over the next month. We will post project and pics of what members are creating. Our next Meetup is next weekend.

Happy Sewing!!!


Have a Frugal & Fun weekend……

Below are a few events going on this weekend in the DMV that I’m planning to stop by. Some events are “do good feel good” events and others are “do good and get a bargain” . Either way, I’ll be tweeting and blogging to provide updates. Let me know if you plan to attend and if you find some goodies 🙂

Green Living Expo featuring green suppliers, products from local and national businesses, exhibits and seminars from government agencies and nonprofits, and more! Help us educate residents about practical ways they can green their lifestyles, focusing on energy conservation, solid waste reduction, eco-friendly transportation, green home remodeling, sustainable landscaping, and healthy homes.

The Expo will also include seminars, a raffle, activities for children, and a special focus on greening our schools. It will provide an important venue to showcase new technology and products available that can help soften our carbon footprints in Arlington.

DC Green Living Expo


I have been waiting for this for MONTHS! I missed the one last November and was so sad. This weekend I’m halting all my plans to stop by and visit the Trunk Show at the Green Living Expo. What fun!!! Visit http://www.fashionofgoodwill.org/blog/2011/03/16/fashion-forward-livin-green-is-easy/ for more information

American University Staff Council Presents “PROM DRESS DRIVE”

March 17/18 and March 24/25: If you’re anywhere near AU’s Quad (I guess there is only one?), please go donate your old prom dresses. Or your daughter’s old prom dresses. Or nice dresses in general. The American University Staff Council and some Greek life teams will put them to good use.

AU Prom Dress Drive

And finally NANA’s

I’m SEW excited about Nana’s reopening. I haven’t been back since National Swap day when I met Jackie and her wonderful team.

NANA’s RE-OPENS MARCH 19TH and the Grand Opening is March 26th – Visit www.nanadc.com for additional information

The new location is two short blocks West of the Columbia Heights Metro stop and directly across from the 42, H line AND the DC Circulator stop.
Nana is a women’s clothing shop in Washington, DC inspired by all things vintage, modern, handmade, and ethically made with each piece it carries being perfect for work & play. The owner Jackie is really sweet. See ya guys this weekend!
Nana Press Clips