The Under-Cover Frugal Fashionista


The Under-Cover Frugal Fashionista

Written by Melissa Marie
A little while back I attended a birthday party where the host was quite proud of her ability to DIY (do it yourself) the party décor using old food boxes and coffee containers. The guests would have never known such a fact, but she was so excited to share the frugal tips that she showed all the guests her handiwork. I was fascinated but another guest leaned over and whispered that she wouldn’t dare to ever share such a thing!

I sometimes wonder myself why it is more acceptable to go to the craft store and spend about $60 on supplies and then and only then one is one accepted to be proud of their DIY. But to spend nearly nothing and think outside the box with trash is considered horrid.

In my humble opinion, if you can make something out of anything no matter if they are supplies bought from a store or free, I believe it is a gift to be crafty. Trust me, personally, I would rather write than to craft because the outcome would look like child’s play. Grant it, I am not a crafty person by nature, but I do find calmness in trying to be creative and crafty. I’m not fancy enough to show it off but it is fun.
Therefore, one thing that is difficult for me to keep a secret is that I am a recovered shopaholic and do enjoy a good conversation about frugal living. Frugal living often has bad connotations for being interpreted as cheap. Rightly so, because some people are misers and are tightly fisted at all costs. I do try to find a balance between generosity and saving. I believe that generosity plays a huge part in my personal reasons to live the way that I do.

But for me, frugality is about quality over quantity. This pertains to clothing, food, gifting, housing etc… Frugal living started out of necessity when we began to pay off our debt. Now the habit is hard to break, but that is okay because it is not a habit I want to kick.

If anything, I love being frugal. I enjoy scoring a good deal or better yet saving for the next big goal that we have planned for.

I still enjoy shopping but now I shop for me. It used to be a means of escape but now it is more about stretching my budget to help me feel good in the clothes that I wear. 

I now shop for own style rather than stressing about being on trend. I don’t have any type of style that can be pinpointed, but rather I just wear what I like or love. Period.
So back to the story, I looked over at the woman and said, “ Why? I believe her handiwork is excellent. Plus, I love being frugal. Everyone knows that most décor gets ruined and thrown out after the party anyway.” She paused before answering in a low voice, “ I love being frugal too, but I am undercover about it.” I laughed. She became my friend almost instantly. She has such a classy way of being an undercover agent for frugality. Had I missed the party I would have never known of the possibility of being covert!

So to keep her cloak of mystery we shall name her Mrs. Holmes. I recently saw Mrs. Holmes again at an event dressed very stylish and complimented her. Again, in her low tone, which is her best incognito feature “8.99 for this blouse!” she all but whispered. Of course, she looked amazing in it. It was a chiffon ( maybe a polyester blend at that low price, the mystery shall remain), mint colored, loose blouse with a black collar that tied into a bow. She definitely has great taste and makes the mystique of frugalness look rather lavish and I ♥ that!



Me,  being covert in my thrifted little black dress and faux pearls hand sewn on.


Mrs. Holmes got me thinking, are you vocal about being frugal or do you keep silent? I have often thought of becoming an undercover frugal fashionista. My imagination runs wild at that romanticised thoughts of harboring such mysteriousness as to hide my frugalness, but can I truly hide it completely?  In a way I guess I already practice being covert in some areas of my life.

For example, I do run in a circle of acquaintance’s that would never shop at a second-hand store.I know because they have proclaimed it. I have yet to admit to them that 80 percent of my clothing comes from consignment, yard sales, and thrift stores! I don’t know what they would say should they ever find out. If they do, I honestly don’t mind.

I socialize in circles and choose friends not based on their salary or careers but from the content of their character. I am selective based on what I can offer to them and learn from them to be a better version of myself.

Frugalness is a way of life and I believe that the price that someone pays to clothe their body does not grant personal validation.  Neither should frugalness become a way to look down on others who are not into it. Friendship is invaluable, we should fashion our lives with ones that add tremendous value to our character.

The other 20 percent of what I purchase are shoes and undergarments. However, I am leery of shoes and undergarments at a thrift shop, but even those come from clearance racks, outlets, and discount stores. Sometimes, I go with my gut on shoes though. If the shoes are new or like new I will buy them, wipe them with Clorox wipes, spray them with anti-fungal shoe spray and air them in the sun for a few days. So far, so good. I must admit though, it is a rarity that I buy shoes second hand. You can purchase some very nice shoes at places like DSW or TJ MAXX at a deeply discounted price which is what I do.

What I enjoy about being a frugal agent is that shopping this way allows one to buy key quality pieces every now and then and these pieces last years. For example, I have bought expensive purses at an outlet for a discounted price and they last and keep their look nicely. I believe what you wear should make you feel great about yourself and sometimes this means spending a little bit more.

SoI think for now I will be a part-time undercover agent. What can I say, I have commitment issues and can’t keep secrets very well. 
So I will covertly tell you that I found my Easter outfit at the thrift shop! I am sorry there are no links to share with you on how to buy these exact items since they are second hand. However, I am hopeful that this post will encourage you to be an undercover agent of frugality.

My Easter Outfit!

Easter Dress

Dress: Chiffon knee –length dress designed by Eva Mendes $4.29 It was a shady spring day which explains the shadows on the photos.

Easter Shoes

Shoes:  Franco Fortini  $2.14 (1/2 off sale day at Goodwill)  Please forgive the lighting of shadows. I assure you the shoes are a cream/light white sandal and are not dirty. 🙂


Faux Leather Wristlet $2.00 a flea market find.



Essie Mameoiselle

Nail Polish: Mademoiselle #112 $ 8.59 Splurge at Sally’s Beauty Supply. A girl has gotta have a pretty shine to her nails. It makes the outfit pop. I must admit though, this is my go-to color always. 

The total cost of the outfit: $15.02


Should you choose the mission to be an undercover frugal fashionista or as a proud loud one, I ask you to choose your mission wisely. This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds, good luck (cue Mission  Impossible music).


Leave a comment below! I would love to hear your opinion on which you choose and why!


Disclaimer: I am not endorsed nor paid for any links shared. I just like to give the actual website to help you find the places that I am referring to.


  1. I loved reading this and can instantly relate. You could say I am an agent for thrift store shopping. 🙂 I love being frugal and finding a good deal at a secondhand place. I would love to see more of your thrifted finds!


  2. I enjoyed this post. I grew up in a family that would have never worn anything second hand. I had to learn to shop at second hand stores with some of my friends and it is fun and does save you a TON of money. The nice thing about second hand finds is that if you don’t like them or they don’t work, you can pass them on and not feel guilty because you have spent too much money on them.


    • How interesting! I grew up the exact opposite. It is nice to know that thrifting can be appreciated by newbies or veteran shoppers. I get sticker price shocked when I go to a retail store for a blouse though! I do like that in a way one can contribute clothing all around and be guilt-free:)

      Liked by 1 person

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