$40 Fashion Challenge

Before Magoo was born I had a vast collection of makeup and a wardrobe full of skirts, dresses, nice blouses, and heels. I traded those things in when I became a mother, partly due to my clothes no longer fitting the way they once did, but also because I found that those things were no longer practical for my lifestyle. I became increasingly concerned about the chemicals in makeup and chose to only use organic makeup, which meant that any makeup I used was hard to come by and much pricier than any makeup I was used to purchasing.

Fast forward. Birdie is now almost 5 months-old and while I still prefer clothing that I feel is practical for caring for an infant and running after a preschooler, I’m also starting to miss feeling confident and attractive when I get dressed in the morning. I know beauty is within, but there’s also something to be said for putting on an outfit that makes you feel good. I also enjoy looking nice for my husband. He goes to work for us every day and it feels a little disappointing on the days that he returns home and I’m in a pair of yoga pants and an oversized t-shirt. I decided to make a change in how I dress myself, but I would have to do so on a budget. I am an admitted cheapskate when it comes to clothes, shoes, and accessories since I became a mother. I feel “Mom Guilt” whenever I buy something for myself because I think that it’s money that could be going to benefit my family in some way. I recently realized that it also benefits my family if their mom and wife feels good about herself and I’m sure my husband appreciates the added effort of making myself presentable.

Last Friday Magoo, Birdie, and myself met my aunt, who is the queen of accessorizing, and we spent the afternoon shopping. I figured that if I were to purchase anything a $40 limit would be reasonable. The first store we stopped at was H&M and we found tons of cute things at super cheap prices because of their 60% off sale. I found a dress that was cute on the hanger and was only $10. When I went to the dressing room I was disappointed that the dress had no shape to it, but my aunt suggested I accessorize with a wide belt and a necklace. My suggestion was that I also needed to try it on with heels since I am short. The belt, heels, and necklace made all the difference in the world!

Below is a breakdown of the outfit I purchased:

A-line Dress in Orange $10 in store, $15 on the website.

Multi-strand Necklace in natural white. $14.95 in store, $10 on the website.

Christian Siriano for Payless perforated black heels – $10 in stores at Payless (no longer available online)

Wide stretch belt with gold accent (similar to this one found at Kohls.com for $26)- $3.95 in stores at H&M (no longer available online)

Overall, I spent a total of $20.28 because I did not purchase the necklace while we were shopping (my aunt went back the next day and purchased it for me) and the heels at Payless were part of their BOGO 1/2 off deal, so I got them for $5 since my aunt was purchasing a pair of tennis shoes for herself. Once I reimburse my aunt for the necklace, I’ll have spent a grand total of $36.28. I achieved my goal! I was able to get a complete outfit that was cute, stylish, affordable, and feminine for less than $40!

I challenge my readers to take the $40 fashion challenge. $40 can go a long way, depending on where you shop for your clothes and accessories and how creative you are. I love thrift stores and I know that $40 could have probably gone even further in a thrift store. If you take the challenge, comment and let me know how you did!

Since some of these items were on clearance and some of them are no  longer available online, it may be difficult to re-create the exact outfit, but if you were to purchase the dress on the H&M website for $15 it would be very easy to create a complete outfit on the $40 budget by pairing black pumps with a slim heel, a necklace in a coordinating color (although I found when searching for a necklace that some that contain black seem to blend into the dress too much), and a wide stretchy belt in either black or cream. Some of these accessories may already be in your closet, as they were once in mine, but since I no l longer had these fashion staples I had to include them into the $40 challenge.

I can’t wait to see what you all come up with! Share this post on Facebook and use #$40FashionChallenge to show us your finds!

H&M multi-strand necklace in off white.

H&M multi-strand necklace in off white.


Christian Siriano for Payless perforated heel

H&M A-line dress

H&M A-line dress