Friday, December 09, 2005

Frugal Shopping: The $15 Party Dress

My boyfriend's office Christmas party is this weekend. My company doesn't have parties. I haven't had an office party to attend for years so I don't own a dress that is appropriate for an event taking place in the winter time. I set off shopping last weekend in search of something that is simple, classic (so it won't go out of style), and high quality (so I can wear it for years to come). After dismissing the overpriced, over-glittery party fare offered in the major department stores I decided to try my luck at Marshalls, Ross and T.J. Maxx. I struck gold at T.J. Maxx. I purchased what is arguably my best value find ever. I was digging through the dresses on the clearance rack when I found a black sweater dress by BCBG Max Azria. It has simple white piping that makes it dressy enough for an evening event. The retail value was listed at $250, T.J. Maxx's price was $85, reduced several times to $20. I determined that this dress had been passed over because it had a flaw in the seam of the left arm pit - the seam had a 2 inch gap where it wasn't stitched properly during manufacturing. The sweater wasn't frayed at the seam so it would be a simple fix in a location that would never been seen. I went to the checkout and pointed the flaw out to the clerk. She offered an additional $5 discount, bringing the purchase price to $15! An added bonus - it can be hand washed. No dry cleaning bills! I feel like I've won the lottery.

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