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A Frugal Fashionista Confessional

Film Noir by Darell Berry via Flickr

I stalked a woman at a shop the other day. This is my confession; forgive me, for I have lost my marbles. You need the context, though, before you judge…

I was at the nearby second-hand store, looking for housewares. Which means, of course, that I got distracted in the clothing aisles and lost track of my original mission. Poor Brian was left to search for a coat rack and a nightstand while I wandered the racks of shirts and dresses, looking for a bargain. It was as I neared the skirts that I saw a thrift store staff member sliding a fabulous skirt back onto the rack, and my breath caught in my throat: the skirt was phenomenal, just the kind of thing I’m always looking for and never find. It was done in strips of suede, brown lace, and subtle plaid, hung past the knee, and had a crocheted waistband. I was in bohemian heaven. I took a step towards the skirt, one hand outstretched, my mouth nearly watering with the fashion lust I was feeling…when another woman swooped in and grabbed it.

I was still too far away from the rack to claim foul play, so instead I stopped dead in my tracks and pretended to examine a silk blouse. I watched the woman inspect the skirt, holding it up, checking the size, turning it this way and that, tantalizing me with every swish. My palms itched with the desire to snatch the gorgeous thing away from her, but I restrained myself, balling my fists and gritting my teeth. I took a breath and prayed for patience as I realized the skirt was probably not going to fit her, even though she’d flung it over her arm with some others to try on. Okay, so all I had to do now was bide my time and wait ‘til she tried it on, saw it was all wrong for her, and abandoned it. I started to walk towards the changing stalls, prepared to settle down beside them and wait for her…but then I became anxious that she may realize sooner that the skirt was wrong for her and put it down on some other rack—or worse yet, that she may just buy it without even trying it on. No, I couldn’t wait by the change room; I was going to have to keep an eye on her.

Ten minutes later, I was still stalking my prey. Like a detective in an old film noir, I followed from a distance, even flipping through the second-hand magazines to make me look busy. That’s when Brian came up to me, bored of shopping and ready to move on to the bagel shop. I gestured him closer, and explained what was going on. I probably should have been more embarrassed of my covetous stalking as I filled Brian in, but the desire for that skirt had narrowed my focus until it was all that mattered. And Brian, heavens bless him, just nodded in complete understanding, and got right down to the business of stalking the lady, too. There stood the two of us, both pretending to consider a cardigan I held up for us to peer from behind. Looking back, I think this is one of those indescribable moments that defines what a happy marriage looks like.

Eventually our target made her way to the changing area, just three free-standing stalls at the back of the store. I had another item I wanted to try on, but I was afraid to leave off watching the woman’s stall in case she left while I was changing…but the clock was ticking and there was only five minutes left until the store closed. I told Brian the situation, jumping from foot to foot in my distress, and he reassured me that he could watch for the lady while I tried on my thing. I reviewed with him what to do if she left the change room: check her hands for the skirt, and if there was no skirt there, run into the stall and grab it off the ground. He nodded solemnly and vowed to follow my instructions to the letter, so I handed over command of the surveillance post to Brian and went to change.

It was while I was putting my jacket back on in my stall that I heard a quiet knock, and looked up just in time to see the coveted skirt fling over the top of my door. I squealed with joy and called out, “She left it?” Brian whispered that she had, and he’d deeked into the stall and grabbed it. Oh, what joy! I slid the skirt up my hips, hands quivering in anticipation as I fumbled with the zipper…and it was perfect. In the mirror, I looked fabulous. This was the nicest skirt I’d seen in at least two seasons, and it was a whopping five bucks. Incredible. I did a little dance on the spot (picture Snoopy dancing on his dog house), then opened the door and flung my arms around Brian. My hero of the hour, he looked proud as a peacock as the cashier rang in my purchases and commented on what an incredible skirt I’d found! He smiled at her, stuck out his chest, and told her that, indeed, we’d stalked a woman in the store to get it. I immediately turned bright red, but the cashier wasn’t in the least bit surprised and said that her own daughter had stalked a man just last week in pursuit of a particularly handsome fedora.

I confess it was a bit insane, following a woman around for twenty minutes just to grab a five dollar skirt. In less than half an hour, I’d burned with fashion lust, I’d coveted from my neighbour, and I’d put my husband in a position to appear like a crazed creep, running into change rooms and grabbing women’s clothing off the floor. But considering you readers are fans of the UsedEverywhere sites, some even seeking out clothing on the sites, I’m hoping you’ll understand the weaknesses of the bargain hunter, and the lengths we sometimes go to to get our hands on a specific treasure. And if I’m really confessing here, I’ll tell you that today when I wore my skirt, and received a dozen compliments on it, it seemed that the ends justified the insanity. Can a girl be sinfully devious, yet angelically frugal? I like to think so.

Jordan Kent-Baas is co-author of the award-nominated blog Project: Priceless—The Free Wedding Experiment, and Project: Priceless—the NEST (the newlywed experience). The wedding experiment harnessed the power of social media to create a 140-person wedding for virtually no cost, while the NEST chronicles Jordan and Brian’s experience as frugal newlyweds. She is a social media fanatic who works in marketing and communications, and aspires to one day be a full-time author. Jordan lives with her fat senior pug and her sweet handsome husband, Brian; she has a passion for crafting, and exploring new activities around the city. Jordan has a dream of one day being a really good cook…in the meantime, she keeps a frozen pizza on hand just in case. You can connect with Jordan via her blogs at, on Facebook at, or on twitter, under her handle @projectpricelss.

2 Responses to “A Frugal Fashionista Confessional”


You’re going to post a photo of it right? 🙂



Hahaha….I just did the exact same thing last week for a sumptuous leather jacket! Once I scored it there were a number of women stalking me!


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